Drink-driving motorist crashed his partner's car in Sunderland after getting behind the wheel to see his puppy

Puppy love has cost a Wearside dad his driving licence after getting behind the wheel while over the limit to see his dog.

Liam Winch, 25, of Ironside Street, Houghton, took his partner’s Renault Clio car without her permission after drinking strong Stella Artois lager – and crashed, a court heard.

He did so because he wanted to get home to see his puppy, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

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The smash in Hylton Road, Sunderland, in the early hours of Sunday, February 23, led to a breath test which showed he was almost twice the drink-drive limit.

South Tyneside Law Courts.  Picture by FRANK REID. South Tyneside Law Courts.  Picture by FRANK REID.
South Tyneside Law Courts. Picture by FRANK REID.

Winch, who South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard had lost his job as a production operative last week, has now been disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Prosecutor Kirstie Devine told the court Winch was at his mother’s home in Pennywell, Sunderland, just after midnight when he decided he wanted to leave.

She said: “He said that he wanted to go home to see his puppy. He leaves the scene and takes the car and on the way crashes.”

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A breath test revealed Winch had 63 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Winch, who has a one-year-old daughter, pleaded guilty to drink-driving, taking the 2016-registration vehicle without consent, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

The Probation Service, which carried out a report on him, said he had drunk four cans of lager at his mum’s home with his partner present.

Its report found he had a discussion with his partner about leaving and had then picked up the car keys without her knowledge – and that the defendant did not know what he had crashed into.

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After the smash, Winch returned to his mother’s property and called the police who advised him to return to the vehicle, which he did, the court heard.

Winch was handed a 12-month community order with a requirement of 40 hours of unpaid work for the taking without consent charge and given the driving ban for drink-driving.

There were no separate penalties for the two other charges, but he must pay £85 court cost and a £90 victim surcharge.