Fenland magistrates shocked by drink driver four times legal limit

A BENCH of magistrates with 50 years of experience between them were astounded to hear that binge drinker Stephen Needham drove with an alcohol level almost four times the legal limit.

“None of us have ever come across a reading as high as this,” magistrate Michael Sullivan told Needham.

Hearing the case at Wisbech courthouse on Friday, Fenland magistrates heard how Needham drove erratically as he approached Chatteris - and was found asleep at the wheel of his car.

“The Astra had been swerving all over the road,” said prosecutor John Goodier. “It hit the kerb near a roundabout.”

When the car came to a halt in Wenny Road, Chatteris, Needham appeared to be asleep. He was still wearing his seat belt and the engine was running.

“The police banged on the window to wake him up,” said Mr Goodier. “When they opened the door, officers were struck by the smell of alcohol.”

Needham, 45, of Drybread Road, Whittlesey, later gave a breath test reading of 132mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath, when the legal limit is 35 mcgs.

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He had previously admitted drink driving along Isle of Ely Way, Chatteris, on April 11.

At the time of the offence, Needham had been drinking vodka, said solicitor John McKanna. “He does not know why he did it, he has always been against drink driving,” he added.

“He has not touched a drop of alcohol since he had this binge, it was a wake up call. His main problem came from the break up of his marriage and the loss of his job at the time.”

Needham now has a well-paid job, added Mr McKanna, working in Edinburgh three days a week.

The court banned Needham from driving for three years. He must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay �85 costs.

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