A BANNED driver found drunk with his five-week-old baby and toddler in his car has escaped serving a jail term.
Dean Todd had been warned he could be sent to prison for 12 weeks for a string of offences, which came to light when the 25-year-old flagged down police over concerns he was being followed.
But magistrates suspended the sentence for 18 months and gave him a community order with an alcohol treatment requirement for the same period after hearing he had found a job and would face setbacks in getting help with his drinking if he went to prison.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court was told Todd was arrested on June 30 on St Aidan’s Way, with a breath test showing he had 99 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 militres of breath – the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
The court heard Todd’s children are now 10-weeks-old and two-and-a-half.
The dad, who is separated from the children’s mother, was banned from driving for four years in January 2008, for driving while serving a drink-driving ban.
Investigations after his arrest found his Citroen AX was bearing stolen plates, taken from a Renault Clio in Murton, and Todd had taken £30-worth of fuel without paying from a petrol station earlier in the day.
In addition to driving while disqualified, drink driving and theft of the plates and petrol, he admitted driving without insurance.
Neil Bennett, mitigating, said Todd had found work as a decorator and realised he needed help to deal with his alcohol issues.
Gary Walker, chairman of the bench, asked Todd whether he thought having his children in his car had been “stupidity or negligent” to which Todd replied “irresponsible.”
Todd, of Spennymoor, was given a curfew and three-year driving ban.