South Shields learner driver caught behind wheel more than FOUR times over drink drive limit

A South Tyneside learner driver who drove at over four times the limit after partying has been handed a suspended jail term.

By Gareth Crickmer
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:55 am

Natasha Mason, 46, was driven to Birmingham for an engagement bash and then invited by a friend to stay overnight on their return.

But when the pal’s boyfriend objected to the arrangement, Mason tried to drive home to Eccleston Road, near Westoe, South Shields, at 4am.

She accidentally mounted a pavement in Brunswick Street, Laygate, South Shields, when lit up by police on Thursday, May 26.

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Natasha Mason.

Mason gave a reading of 152mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Borough magistrates jailed her for 12 weeks but suspended the sentence for 18 months – and banned her from driving for three years.

Prosecutor Clare Irving said: “She was seen driving in the early hours and there was damage to the vehicle. That’s the reason the police stopped her.

“She was clearly drunk and was taken to a police station where the reading of 152mcg was taken.”

The court heard Mason drove her VW Passat to a friend’s home as the meeting point for the party trip.

She did so despite not having passed her driving test and being alone in the vehicle instead of supervised by a licence holder.

Mason pleaded guilty to drink-driving, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

John Gibson, defending, said: “It came about because of an unusual set of circumstances that will probably never re-occur.

“It was her car. The reason this came about is that she went to an engagement party in Birmingham with friends.

“A friend took their vehicle. On the way back, another friend asked her to come back to sleep.

“It was the friend’s partner who didn’t agree. It was too far to walk, and she was afraid to.

“That’s how she found herself in these unusual circumstances. It was a short drive.”

Magistrates described Mason’s breath test reading as “very, very high” but said they believed she could be rehabilitated.

They also ordered she carry out 25 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service and pay a £128 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.