Nuisance drunk Mark Herron says he has vowed to get off the booze after telling a court he had gone without a drink for four days.
The 49-year-old told magistrates he would definitely see his 50th birthday in November, after his mother’s death made him consider his own mortality.
As reported in the Echo this week, Herron, of Grosvenor Street, Southwick, has had many hundreds of court appearances, having clocked up 448 drink-related offences over the years.
Appearing again at Sunderland Magistrates Court, Herron has pleaded guilty to four further counts of being drunk and disorderly – but is now taking alcohol blockers, to keep him on the straight and narrow.
The offences occurred on May 1, May 5, May 7, and May 11.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “As experienced magistrates you have sat in the court for a number of years, and you have dealt with Mr Herron who has a long history of this offending behaviour. He has appeared in court on over 300 previous occasions.
“In three of the offences, he goes to the police station drunk and swearing and ends up being arrested, which I am sure is his intention, because he gets a bed for the night. On the fourth occasion he is found sleeping, unconscious, comatose – I think is appropriate – outside the Winter Gardens.”
Chris Wilson, defending, said: “We’ve all been here before. Mr Herron is often here charged with offences of this nature. He has a significant alcohol problem and would immediately want to go outside to top up his alcohol need. This occasion is different.”
Mr Wilson said Herron took to drink after his mother died recently, however, the funeral was a ‘wake-up call’ for him.
“He went to his GP and asked for an alcohol blocker. After being given that tablet, that he takes on a daily basis, he hasn’t been arrested for any matter.
“He had attended his mother’s funeral. It was a wake-up call. He became aware of his own mortality.
“The stark reality hit him – he doesn’t want to die. He said to me outside: ‘I’m too young to die through alcohol, I think I’ve had many close calls’. The tablets are obviously working on him.”
Handing Herron a conditional discharge for 18 months, bench chairman Joan Green said: “You do look better today. But, we are at a loss as to what to do with you, as you already know.
“We don’t want you to be going to your funeral, so stay away from the drink and keep out of court for 18 months.”
Herron said: I’ve not a had a drink for four days and I feel better. I will see fifty”