Man avoids prison after being caught drink-driving twice in three weeks

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

Simon Cowley was banned from driving for four years - Credit: Archant

A 42-year-old man caught drink driving twice in just over three weeks has been spared an immediate prison sentence. 

Simon Cowley was more than four times the limit on August 23 this year when he was behind the wheel of a Ford Mondeo on Colney Lane in Cringleford, Norfolk.  

On that occasion, Cowley, of The Street, Costessey, near Norwich, also clipped the wing mirror of another car, Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard on Friday. 

In custody, he blew 144 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - more than four times the legal limit of 35mcg in 100ml of breath. 

But 24 days later, Cowley was caught by police again when his Ford Mondeo was stopped on the A14 westbound at Newmarket in Suffolk on September 16. 

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His reading this time was 98mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath - nearly three times the limit. 

Cowley previously pleaded guilty to both drink driving offences before magistrates on September 17 and a pre-sentence report was ordered. 

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The court heard how Cowley had no previous convictions. 

Alison Muir, representing Cowley, said her client has the "unwavering support" of family and friends. 

"Before the first of these incidents occurred, Mr Cowley became aware that he was going to need help," she said. 

"This was something he was not going to be able to deal with himself and he sought help from various agencies. 

"Wheels were in motion already for his rehabilitation. It's going to be a long, hard battle. 

"What's pleasing to see is, despite what he's done, he has the unwavering support of a large number family and friends. 

"Those who were in the dark about his situation are now under no illusions about how serious his alcohol consumption was. They are there to help him." 

Ms Muir added that Cowley's job was secure despite the driving ban which would be imposed. 

Magistrates said the offences were so serious that they crossed the custody threshold. 

But they took into account his remorse and the fact that he has sought help. 

Cowley was handed 10 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a four-year driving ban. 

He must also complete 80 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days. 

Cowley was also ordered to pay £105 in costs and a victim surcharge of £128. 

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