Driver was three times over the limit after boozing at Sunderland Airshow

O' Neil was stopped by police at the Tyne Tunnel toll booths.
O' Neil was stopped by police at the Tyne Tunnel toll booths.

A 67-year-old man was stopped for drink-driving after he had too much at the Sunderland Airshow.

Melvin O'Neil was reported to police by members of the public who saw him driving erratically on the A19, South Northumbria Magistrates' Court heard.

"He was heading north," said Paul Anderson prosecuting.

"Police caught up with him at the toll booths of the Tyne Tunnel. It was obvious to officers he was intoxicated.

"His breath-alcohol level was later found to be 109 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath, more than three times the legal limit for driving.

"Mr O'Neil is a man of previous good character, as are so many of those who appear for this type of offence."

O'Neil, of Belvedere, North Shields, admitted driving with excess alcohol on July 22.

The court heard he has been married for 42 years, has two sons, and still works a few days a week in his trade as a pipe fitter because he enjoys it.

Representing himself, O'Neil said: "I made a big mistake that day. It won't happen again."

O'Neil was sentenced to a community order of 12 months, including 80 hours of unpaid work, a driving ban of two years, and he was ordered to pay £170 costs.