A CHEF who downed booze then drove to a burger chain for an early morning snack was more than four times the drink-drive limit.
William Ward, from Sunderland, was already banned from driving when he got behind the wheel, a court was told.
Ward, 45, of Carley Hill, pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving while disqualified and using a vehicle without insurance at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told the court it was 2am on June 26, when police spotted Ward staggering to his car parked near McDonald’s in Roker Retail Park, Sunderland.
He said: “They saw a man walking towards a Renault Megane.
“He was unsteady on his feet and the vehicle was driven off in an erratic manner.
“Officers stopped him shortly after and arrested him for driving while unfit.
“He was taken to Washington police station, where the reading was very high and he is also disqualified from driving, which aggravated matters further.”
Mr Anderson went on to say Ward admitted he had been drinking since 6pm the previous day.
At 2am, he became hungry and went to McDonald’s to get something to eat.
He added; “He did not know how much he had had to drink, but knew he was over the limit.
“He is disqualified from driving until he passes an extended test.”
Gavin Sword, defending, said Ward had been disqualified in 2005.
When he received a letter from the DVLA inviting him to re-apply for his provisional driving licence, he assumed he could start driving again.
“I don’t think he has known what is meant by extended test,” Mr Sword said.
“As far as the excess alcohol is concerned, he has recently been in hospital for an operation on his feet.
“The upshot of that is that he was initially put on painkillers, but he can’t tolerate them, because of other medication he is on for high blood pressure, so he can’t use painkillers.”
Ward was in so much pain that after a 13-hour shift, he said, that he could not walk up stairs at his home in Eastbourne Square and began drinking to ease the pain.
Mr Sword added: “He did not think he was that far over the limit, but clearly he was.
“He has pleaded guilty immediately and has co-operated with the police.
“There are no other aggravating factors; no bad driving, no persons present and no other passengers.”
Magistrates disqualified Ward from driving for a further three years and made him subject to a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He must also pay a £80 victim surcharge and £85 towards court costs.