Hebburn man caught drink-driving on the way to hospital after stubbing toe while walking dog

An accident during evening walkies with his pooch led to a man ending up in the doghouse with police.

By Gareth Crickmer
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 4:55 am

Mark Atkinson, 51, of Albany Street, Hebburn, stubbed a toe during an after-pub stroll with his four-legged friend, a court heard.

When home treatment failed to ease his pain and he could not summon a taxi to get to hospital, he instead set out in his van.

But he was stopped on route to medical aid by patrolling officers in Victoria Road West, also Hebburn.

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The case was dealt with at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

A breath test showed he was almost twice the drink-drive limit at 2am on Wednesday, December 15.

He is now starting a 12-month roads’ ban which could impact on his new business, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “He is followed and is pulled over in the car park of a public house.

“Clearly, he is drunk, and the police arrest him.”

Atkinson gave a breath test reading of 60mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Defence solicitor Heather Bolton said Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, had driven only due to his injury.

She added: “He had been out socialising and had drunk alcohol earlier in the day. He had had six pints.

“He had come home and walked the dog and while walking the dog, he banged a toe on a concrete stump.

“He went home and drank water and rang for a taxi but couldn’t get one. He was on the way to the hospital to get checked out.

“Mr Atkinson says he was slowing down because he was coming up to lights and there was a pothole in the road.

“He doesn’t accept that he was driving erratically. But he stopped when required and complied.

“He started up his own business six months ago, he’s a mechanic, and a driving ban will impact on him.

“He does have another person employed and they will have to do the driving.”

District Judge Paul Currer disqualified Atkinson for 12 months and fined him £200, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

He told him: “I accept your account that you injured yourself and were taking yourself to hospital.”

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