Drink-drive student ‘too busy’ to do community service

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A STUDENT convicted of drink driving claimed he was too busy to do his community work.

Elliot Blenkhorn was found to be three times over the limit when police stopped him as he drove on the A19 near Castle Eden in the early hours of November 15.

Blenkhorn, 20, of Nevilledale Terrace, Durham City, was banned by magistrates for 26 months and ordered to do 100 hours’ unpaid work. He appealed against his sentence at Durham Crown Court.

Ian West, for Blenkhorn, said: “The unpaid work will have a detrimental effect on his business management studies at Durham University, given that he also plays rugby and trains regularly.

“The unpaid work element of the sentence could be said to be excessive and unnecessary.

“No accident was caused, but the high reading suggests there was an inherent danger in his driving.”

The court heard Blenkhorn had not planned to drive that evening, but had received a call from a friend at the university’s Stockton campus who suffers from stress and who sounded upset.

Recorder Jonathan Aitken, sitting with two magistrates, said the panel did not consider Blenkhorn faced a genuine emergency.

But his previous good character and early guilty plea meant they would reduce the amount of unpaid work by 20 hours to 80 hours.

The panel refused to make a costs order in Blenkhorn’s favour.