Sunderland great-grandfather banned from roads for drink driving

A great-grandfather was caught drink-driving after swapping shandy for spirits when meeting a pal.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 5:00 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Former shipyard worker John King, 79, of Hedworth Court, Hendon, Sunderland, sank at least a couple of shorts before getting in his motor.

He was found by the side of his car in Ryhope Road and suspected of drink-driving, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

King, who also served in the Army and worked at sea, gave a positive breath test reading on Thursday, June 24.

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He is starting a 20-month roads’ ban and must pay fines and court costs of £300 after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

The court heard King provided a breath test reading of 84mcg of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

During the hearing, the dad-of-six and grandfather of 26 admitted he usually drank shandy if driving but accepted he had swapped to spirits.

King also said he had a mobility car which he hoped to keep, and which he would be driven around in by family members.

Sandra Fife, defending, said: “He had been to visit an old friend in Seaham Harbour.

“He had a couple of drinks, perhaps he underestimated how much. He accepts that he drove his vehicle back.

“He is at pains to say to me that he was out of the vehicle when the police approached him.”

It was also said King had a previous drink-drive conviction from 2004.

Deputy District Judge Gary Garland told him: “You’ve had a hardworking life.

“You’ve got yourself in a little bit of trouble by having too much to drink and getting in a car.

“You must have had more than a couple of pints to drink.”

Judge Garland also said the DVLA may have some questions to ask King regarding the return of his licence when his driving ban expires.

He fined King £200, with a £66 victim surcharge and £34 court costs which must be paid at £10 a week.