A POLICE officer’s 28-year career lies in tatters after she was caught drink-driving by colleagues.
Pc Christine Thomas was twice over the limit when she was tested on duty at Washington Police Station.
Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard she had been seen driving her Nissan Micra along the sliproad near The Galleries shopping centre at 1.25pm on March 27 as she made her way to work.
At 4.30pm an inspector approached her after officers raised concerns about her “level of behaviour” and she said she would take public transport so she could pick up her daughter.
Hari Jandoo, prosecuting, said: “When she was arrested she became quite distraught.
“She said she had a drink that morning and had consumed three cans of cider.
“She was remorseful, in particular for the effect that her actions she had taken would have on her employment and family.”
Test showed she had 70 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 mililitres of breath – the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.
Thomas, of Chester-le-Street, admitted drink- driving.
Alan Samuels, mitigating, said the 48-year-old had faced a bitter custody battle with her husband after the break-up of their marriage five years ago, which led to no contact between their daughter and her father for two years.
He said: “She turned to alcohol as a release to take her problems away and as a crutch.”
He said she had been suspended from work and is likely to lose her job as a result of her conviction. Just two years off completing 30 years of service, she will lose £80,000 from the £130,000 lump sum she would have been entitled to.
She will not be able to access her pension until she is 60 and the court heard she may now have to sign on to benefits.
District Judge Kristina Harrison told Thomas she would face a driving disqualification for 16 months, with a 25 per cent discount from the ban if she takes the drink-drive rehabilitation course.
She will also have to pay a fine of £615, a victim surcharge of £15 and £85 costs.
The district judge told her: “This is quite a sad case.” She remarked how it was a shame the counselling Thomas was now receiving was not been in place before the incident.