Sunderland casino gambler banned from roads after being caught drink-driving

The chips were down for a gambler who played cards at a Sunderland casino until 6am then drove for breakfast while three times the limit.

Simon Garbutt, 32, travelled a mile to a McDonald’s outlet in Farringdon on Monday, July 25, unaware police had been tipped off, a court heard.

They drew a blank in their search and were on their way to his home when they spotted his Peugeot parked at the North Moor Road eatery.

Magistrates in South Tyneside heard it was Garbutt’s second drink-drive offence in less than two years – and banned him from the roads for 42 months.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Marc Atkins said: “Police received a report of a suspected drink-driver in the Sunniside area, and were passed the vehicle’s details.

“They did an area search but that was negative and were on their way to Durham when they spotted the car at the McDonald’s.

“The car was unoccupied, but the defendant came from the restaurant and approached the vehicle.

“Officers spoke to him and could smell alcohol coming from the vehicle. He failed a breath test.”

Garbutt, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving, gave a reading of 105mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Michael Gibson, defending, said: “He drove into Sunderland from Durham to the casino where he likes to play cards.

“He didn’t go until quite late on and usually would have one or two drinks and play cards for which he has to focus.

“He has no real explanation. He didn’t know he had drunk more than he usually does or why he left so late."

Garbutt, of Oak Avenue, near Durham city centre, was also made subject to an 18-month community order, with 35 rehabilitation days and 120 hours of unpaid work.

He must pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.