Motorist who insisted he 'felt fine' to drive on morning after drinking session is banned from the roads

A drink-driver on his way to work had his collar felt when he tried to avoid police by turning into the grounds of a greyhound stadium, a court heard.

Andrew Charlton, 54, pulled into the car park of Sunderland Greyhound Stadium when he spotted officers the morning after a booze session.

But he found his race was run when they followed him into the venue on Sunderland Road, East Boldon, on Sunday, February 16, and a breath test showed he was over the limit.

Magistrates in South Tyneside have now banned Charlton from driving for a year and hit him with fines and other costs of over £400 – and he will likely also lose his job.

Charlton pulled into the car park of Sunderland Greyhound Stadium, a court heard.

Prosecutor Clare Irving said: “This gentleman is seen driving on Sunderland Road by officers at about 8am.

“The defendant then appears to see the police officers and pulls off into the Sunderland Greyhound Stadium car park.

“There’s a positive roadside breath test and the lower reading at the police station is 54mcgs.”

Paul McAlindon, defending, said: “He’s a gentleman of previous good character.

Charlton appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

“It’s one of those situations. He was stopped at the greyhound track, he was going to work on a Sunday morning.

“He says that he’d had a drink in the Saturday night and felt fine to drive.

“He’s been drinking a little lately, there’s been some bereavements and the end of a relationship and things have got on top of him.

“He can’t get to work without a driving licence, and he has arthritis and can’t use public transport.

“He is on the sick from work at the moment. He will probably have to hand in his notice from work.

“All Mr Charlton says is that he felt fine and jumped into his car.”

The court heard Charlton, of Kingsway, Houghton, had 54mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Charlton, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was fined £315 and must pay £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

Magistrates offered him the opportunity to take a drink-driver rehabilitation course which can reduce his ban time by a quarter on completion