Sunderland soldier’s job at risk after drink-drive crash

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A SERVICEMAN could be thrown out of the forces after being caught drink driving.

Royal Artillery man Leo Burke was nearly three times the legal limit when he crashed in Wessington Way, Sunderland, in the early hours of July 13.

Police on patrol spotted 20-year-old Burke’s car by the side of the dual carriageway at about 5.55am.

The Suzuki Swift had damage to its front and three flat tyres.

Burke, of Dean Street, Silkworth, failed a breath test, with a reading of 92 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Philipa Wylie, defending, said Burke was a member of the Royal Artillery and previously had a unblemished record.

She said: “He fully accepts he was over the limit. At the time he had been drinking the night before, but had gone to bed and woken up at 5.30am.

“He had initially felt alright to drive and was driving along Wessington Way when he clipped the kerb and the damage was caused.

“It has had an extremely devastating effect on him. Not only was he in custody for some time until he was deemed fit to be released, he works as an Army mechanic and, of course, vehicles are very much part of his job.

“Clearly the loss of his licence is going to have a very detrimental effect on his job and it is not clear how his career in the Army will proceed.

“He will have to go before the relative panel.”

Magistrates banned Burke from driving for 12 months and ordered he pay a £540 fine, £85 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.