South Shields OAP drank up wine for recycling day – then got behind the wheel

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An apologetic pensioner told magistrates she has been given a ‘wake-up call’ after being caught more than three times over the drink-drive limit.

Sylvia Minicking had polished off a bottle of wine – in order to discard it in time for her bins to be collected – when she got behind the wheel for a morning shopping trip.

There had been a bottle of wine left and the rubbish collection was due so she decided to finish it off. She knows it was wrong and foolish to do that.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending

But police were alerted to the 67-year-old’s “erratic” driving and pulled her over after she packed up her groceries and left the Lidl store, in Boldon Lane, South Shields.

She failed a roadside breath test and recorded a reading of 251 milligrammes of alcohol in blood – more than treble the legal limit of 80.

Minicking, of Dryden Close, South Shields, admitted driving with excess alcohol when she appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and was banned from driving for over two years.

Janice Bellamy, prosecuting, said: “At 9.30am on July 15, police were alerted to a Fiat Punto being driven erratically on Boldon Lane, in South Shields. They arrived at the Lidl car park and saw the defendant put her shopping in the car and drive off.

“They stopped her on Stanley Street and she gave a positive breath test.”

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said Minicking had started to drink to excess due to problems with recent renovation work on her house.

She said: “Sometimes in this court you come across people who don’t fit the usual criteria. She is a lady of 67, with no previous convictions.

“She accepts she was over the limit. She accepts she has been drinking more than she ought to.”

He added: “There had been a bottle of wine left and the rubbish collection was due so she decided to finish it off. She knows it was wrong and foolish to do that.

“She is a thoroughly nice lady with a nice family who got herself in a right pickle.”

Minicking told the courrt as she was sentenced: “I’m sorry. I’ve not had a drink of wine since. It’s a wake-up call. You won’t see me again.”

Minicking was disqualified from driving for 26 months and fined £383.

She must also pay a £150 criminal courts charge of £150 and a victim surcharge of £38.