Drink driver was over three times limit in his BMW when police officer stepped in front of his car in Sunderland street

A Sunderland man has been given a three-year driving ban for getting behind the wheel while more than three times the limit.

Saturday, 25th January 2020, 1:39 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th January 2020, 10:00 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Factory worker and ex-soldier Steven Dryden, 53, of Deerness Street, Hendon, must also complete 300 hours of unpaid work for the offence, magistrates ordered.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard dad-of-four Dryden stopped his black BMW just in front of a police officer who stepped into his path.

The court was told he had been out for a meal with colleagues after finishing work early on Friday, December 13 – and then decided to drive.

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Dryden was spotted in his 2010-registered motor in Derwent Street, Sunderland, and a breath test revealed 109 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “A member of door staff was flagged down about a drink-driver and police intervened.

“They saw a BMW moving slowly down Derwent Street and signalled for it to stop. It took a few seconds for it to stop and stop just before it reached the officer.

“He had been out drinking and was clearly drunk. He was three times the limit.”

A Probation Service report found New Zealand-born Dryden moved to South Africa and fought for its military and came to the UK in 2002 with his then wife, who was recruited to work as a nurse.

It highlighted how he drinks heavily at weekends to relieve boredom and also has “deep rooted” and untouched mental health issues, including some stemming from the suicide of one of his children.

The court also heard Dryden had drink-drive convictions in 2003 and 2014.

Tracey Wood, defending, said: “Clearly this man has had a number of issues that he’s had to deal with by himself for some time, but he has not done that very well.

“The prior offences happened around the same time as this one, around the Christmas period. I would ask you to be sympathetic to this gentleman.”

Dryden, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, was also handed a 12-month conditional discharge with a requirement to complete 25 rehabilitation days with the Probation service and must pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.