A MOTORIST blamed the death of his former girlfriend for him being more than three times the legal alcohol limit when he was stopped by the police.

Andrew Sergeant, 46, was caught when police stopped his Toyota Yaris on the A67 at Winston, near Barnard Castle, at 2.35pm on August 5.

Prosecutor Anne Mitchell, told magistrates in Newton Aycliffe, that Sergeant, of Thorngate Wynd, in Barnard Castle, gave police a positive breath test reading.

She said Sergeant gave a reading of 117mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the limit is 35mg.

Leanne Galbraith, mitigating, said Sergeant had turned to alcohol to cope with the death of his ex-partner in 2012.

The court heard that Sergeant had moved from drinking lager to wine and onto vodka to blot out the memory of the death.

He had been heading to a job meeting when he was stopped by the police. Miss Galbraith said that there had been no problem with Sergeant’s driving.

She said that it had been a wake-up call to Sergeant and that he was looking for help with his drinking.

Sergeant pleaded guilty to drink driving and was banned from the road for two-years. He will pay a £115 fine, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.