South Tyneside drink driver caught by cops at three times the limit with a bag of cannabis in his car

A remorseful drink-driver asked a court to punish him to the full extent of the law after a judge gave him the chance to reduce his roads’ ban.

Robert Laws, 37, of Hedgeley Road, Hebburn, initially rejected Deputy District Judge Alex Boyd’s offer of a place on a drink-driver rehabilitation course.

Motorists who successfully pass the £200 self-paid programme reduce their disqualification by a quarter.

At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, dad-of-two Laws, who defended himself, said: “I’ll accept anything that you want to do.

South Tyneside Law Courts. Picture by FRANK REID.

“If I’m going to be disqualified, it’s only right that I get disqualified for the full amount of time.”

But the asbestos removal worker quickly changed his mind on reflection, telling the court: “I would like to do it.”

Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said Laws, who is employed at an MoD site in Warwickshire, went boozing after work on Tuesday, July 21, and drove to his digs.

He then decided to pop to his local Tesco store for grub but stopped on route in Priory Road, Alcester, to check the underside of his noisy Ford Focus.

She added: “It’s 7.30pm and police hear screeching and see a driver getting out and looking under his vehicle.

“They’ve gone over, and it's when he stands up that they smell alcohol and believe that he’s been drinking.

“Checks were undertaken and the officers realised he only had a provisional licence and was driving without insurance.

“Also in the vehicle was a bag of cannabis which was in the front central console.”

Ms Burgess said a roadside breath test revealed a reading of 123 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Laws’ breath reading dropped to 107 microgrammes on an official CAMIC test device at a police station - and he was charged.

He pleaded guilty to drink-driving, driving without a licence, driving without insurance, and possession of Class B cannabis.

Judge Boyd banned him from the roads for 24 months but offered him the chance to take the Drink Impaired Drivers’ Programme.

Laws was also made subject to an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 100 hours of unpaid work, and he must pay £85 court costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

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