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Woman caught drink-driving in Sunderland Aldi car park

A motorist has been banned from the roads after being caught drunk at the wheel in a Sunderland supermarket car park – her second drink-drive conviction.

By Gareth Crickmer
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:55 am

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Through her solicitor, Claire Laing, 40, of Argyle Square, Ashbrooke, told a court she had sold her car and no longer wished to drive.

She was caught at over twice the limit in her Peugeot 206 outside Aldi’s store in Thompson Road, Southwick, on Thursday, April 28, after drinking gin.

Her arrest came after police were called to a report of her windscreen being damaged, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

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Prosecutor Gurjot Kaur said Laing initially denied having been drinking when quizzed at the location.

But a breath test proved she had been – and she is now starting a 40-month driving ban.

Ms Kaur said: “An officer was tasked with attending the Aldi car park after a report of a vehicle being damaged.

“He saw the defendant in a red Peugeot, about to leave the car park. He blocked the exit and asked the defendant to park up.

“She was asked if she had been drinking but she said ‘no’, but a breath test showed she was over the limit.

“She was arrested and taken to Southwick police station, where she complied fully.”

Laing, who was not in court due to illness but took part in proceedings by phone, pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

She gave a reading of 73mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

The court heard she has 31 previous convictions and was jailed in August 2020 for assaulting two emergency workers.

She was also banned for drink-driving in 2016, meaning she faced a minimum three-year ban under the two strikes in 10 years rule.

Heather Bolton, defending, said: “When you hear of damage, someone had smashed her windscreen and that’s why the police were called.

“Unfortunately, she had been drinking, she had drunk some gin. She no longer wishes to drive, she no longer has the car.

“I ask you to take into account her early guilty plea and her compliance with the police.”

Magistrates also fined Laing £120, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.