Mercedes-owning teenage Sunderland clothing entrepreneur given drink-drive road ban for 'moment of madness'

A Sunderland teenage entrepreneur is starting a 22-month roads’ ban after driving his Mercedes just 100m in a “moment of madness” while over twice the limit.

Joseph Ridley, 19, got behind the wheel after being asked by management to move his motor from the Gateshead hotel where he was a guest. But the clothing firm boss, of Howley Avenue, Wear View, was stopped at traffic lights in Mill Road by police in the early hours of Sunday, November 20.

He gave a breath test reading of 88mcg of alcohol, against a legal limit of 35mcg, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard. His solicitor said Ridley needed his car to clinch nationwide business deals and insisted he had not been a danger to others while driving. But despite the leniency plea, magistrates refused to shift from their sentencing guidelines and imposed the disqualification and fines and costs of over £1,100.

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Prosecutor Stephanie Cook said: “The defendant was stopped by police in the early hours. It followed a report of a male driver who was believed to be intoxicated. He was arrested and gave a reading of 88mcg. The defendant has no previous convictions recorded against him.”

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Ridley pleaded guilty to drink driving, with a charge of driving without insurance being withdrawn.

Summy Thandi, defending, said: “He had been out with a friend, and he was staying at the Jury’s Inn hotel. During the early hours, he was requested to move his car from the car park. He jumped in his car to drive to another car park down the road. He was at traffic lights and was stopped.

“He has a clothing business which he’s established, he’s an entrepreneur. He needs his licence to drive up and down the country for business. He’d driven less than 100m to another car park, there was no intention to drive any further. It was just a moment of madness, let’s say.

“He had been asked by the hotel manager to move the car. He foolishly jumped in. His driving was not careless or reckless. He’s remorseful and embarrassed to be in court.”

Ridley was fined £765, with a £306 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.