Sunderland Star Wars fan felt the force of the law when he was caught almost three times the drink-drive limit

A Sunderland Star Wars fan certainly felt the force of the law when he was caught out drink-driving.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 11:52 am

It took the form of Northumbria Police, whose officers collared Stephen Martin, 47, at almost three times the limit near the city centre.

Martin was caught by police on patrol near his home in Walton Lane, a court heard.

He turned to drinking after three personal setbacks but he insisted he had now given up booze following his arrest on Wednesday, February 10 - and instead collects figures from the famous film franchise.

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Stephen Martin, 47, was almost three times the limit when he was stopped in Walton Lane, Sunderland.

After pleading guilty to drink-driving, Martin told magistrates in South Tyneside: “I’m not drinking anymore.

“I’ve a new hobby, collecting Star Wars figures. I used to collect them when I was a kid.

“When my mum passed away, I was drinking about eight cans a day. It was out of character for me.

“I’m not drinking at all. When I was stopped for drink-driving, it scared me to death.”

Prosecutor Ben Woodward said: “Police received a report of a male drink-driver in Walton Lane.

“The defendant failed a roadside breath test, and was taken to Southwick police station. He is a man of previous good character.”

Mr Woodward said Martin gave a reading of 101 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Tom Morgan, defending, said: “The defendant instructs me that he had some difficult personal circumstances.

“His mother was diagnosed with cancer at the end of last year. She died in January, and the funeral was shortly before this offence.

“He also lost his job, and there were issues in his relationship. He self-medicated, and it’s come to this.

“It’s three difficulties which have come together, it’s a perfect storm.”

District Judge Kathryn Meek banned Martin, who has since found employment in waste management, from driving for 24 months.

She also handed him an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 100 hours of unpaid work, and he must pay a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Judge Meek told him: “Whatever was going on, it’s not your place to put everyone else’s lives at risk.”

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