Visitor to Sunderland caught drink-driving after getting lost

A man being breathalysed. Picture posed by a model
A man being breathalysed. Picture posed by a model

A man visiting family in Sunderland was caught drink driving after getting lost while out buying cigarettes.

Atila Pacuraru, 29, had travelled to Wearside from Birmingham to stay with relatives when he was found behind the wheel at two-and-a-half times the legal limit, South Tyneside magistrates heard.

Unfortunately, he made a gross error of judgment

Jason Smith, defending

Pacuraru drew attention to himself after parking diagonally across the road outside a pub in Eighton Banks, Gateshead, the court was told.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “Officers were on duty in a marked police vehicle on the A1231 at 11.35pm on October 11, when they saw a VW Polo pull out in front of them outside the Engine Room pub.

“It swerved towards the centre of the road.

“When the vehicle approached some speed bumps it almost came to a complete stop outside the pub.

“It was then left parked diagonally across the road.

“They spoke to the driver, who showed signs of being drunk.”

Pacuraru, of Church Vale, Birmingham, failed a roadside breath test and was taken to Forth Banks police station in Newcastle where he tested 94 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath - the legal limit being 35.

He pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

Jason Smith, defending, said: “The defendant lives in Birmingham.

“He was in the North East because he has family in Sunderland and he was visiting them.

“Unfortunately, he made a gross error of judgment.

“He didn’t know the area.

“He went out to buy some cigarettes, but he didn’t know where the local shop was, so he got in the car and drove around looking.

“It could have been a fatal error.

“He has never been in trouble before and has besmirched his character.

“He is going to be banned from driving and that will affect him getting around.

“He’s extremely sorry for his actions.”

Pacuraru was banned from driving for two years and was told to pay a fine of £450, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £45.