Offshore worker refused to provide breathalyser sample after being spotted swerving across the road by police in South Shields
A South Tyneside offshore worker has been banned from the roads for two years after giving a positive breath test reading – then refusing to provide a follow-up sample.
Paul Farrell, 40, of Thirlmere Court, Hebburn, blew at over twice the drink-drive limit when challenged by police in Mile End Road, South Shields, on Saturday, October 12.
They spotted him driving his Audi A8 in nearby River Drive at 1.05am and then swerve across a road, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
Farrell gave a roadside breath test reading of 80 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35 – and was arrested and taken to Southwick police station in Sunderland for a second test.
Once there, Farrell refused to oblige - and was charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, the court was told.
Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “Police officers were on mobile patrol in River Drive when their attention was drawn to an Audi A8 vehicle. It appears to swerve across the road.
“Officers continue to follow the vehicle until it comes to a stop outside a takeaway. The officers could immediately see that he shows signs of being drunk.
“A roadside breath test gives a positive reading of 80 microgrammes. He was arrested and taken to Southwick. He refuses to provide a breath sample for analysis.”
Charlie Carr, defending, said: “It’s right to say that he did refuse to give a specimen of breath. He wrongly thought that he didn’t have to give one.
“He told me that he didn’t believe that the police had seen him driving the vehicle.
“It was not an evidential reading from the roadside, but the level is probably whereabouts it was. There’s some evidence of bad driving.”
John Lee, chairman of the bench, told Farrell: “The public and the courts have no time for people who are over the limit. It’s widely publicised not to drink and drive.”
As well as the ban, Farrell, who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, was fined £416 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £41 victim surcharge.