Self-employed joiner was almost three times limit when stopped by cops in Sunderland

A self-employed joiner was caught at almost three times the drink-drive limit – his second such offence.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 7:00 am

Ernest Lancaster, 61, was so drunk he allegedly stumbled from his silver Renault Megane when stopped by police in Silksworth Lane, Silksworth, Sunderland.

Despite claims any fumble on Thursday, February 4, was caused by a medical condition, magistrates banned him from the roads for 25 months.

During sentencing, tearful Lancaster, of Australia Tower, Aldenham Road, Silksworth, said: “I’m disgusted with myself.”

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He was stopped by police in Silksworth Lane, Sunderland.

Prosecutor Michael Rose told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “The defendant was stopped driving at 8.21pm in Silksworth Lane.

“The officers thought he was the worse for wear. It’s about three times the limit, he’s just under three times the limit. That’s the case.”

Rebecca Highton, defending, said a police claim Lancaster had stumbled due to intoxication was false.

She insisted it was caused by him suffering peripheral vascular disease, a condition which restricts blood flow to the legs.

Mrs Highton added: “Mr Lancaster accepts he was over the limit. However, he does not accept that he stumbled out of the car.

“He exits the vehicle and put his left leg out and his hand onto the door to put his right leg out.

“He has suffered from depression for the past ten years and has used medication for the past five years.

“He’s had a number of difficult personal circumstances. He is seeking help.

“He has peripheral vascular disease and is currently awaiting stents in his legs.

“He doesn’t have a problem with alcohol. He’s someone who made a mistake and is remorseful for it.”

Sentencing Lancaster, John Lee, chairman of the bench, said: “You’re old enough to know about drinking and driving, it’s been out there for years.

“You don’t drink, and you don’t drive. It’s something that the public and the court system are intolerant of.”

Lancaster, who has a drink-drive conviction from 2006, gave a reading of 102 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

He was fined £200 and must pay £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

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