Lowestoft drink driver was above sentencing guidelines

A drink driver from Lowestoft who consumed so much cider and beer that it put him above sentencing guidelines was banned from getting behind the wheel for 60 months yesterday.

Stephen Grant had drunk three litres of cider and two cans of strong lager before he took a neighbour's car without permission and drove it erratically.

When Grant, 23 of Bevan Street West, was breathalysed by police he gave a reading of 162 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 mililltres of breath- the legal limit being 35 microgrammes.

Grant's reading, which was more than four times the legal limit, was so high that magistrates were told that it was not included on their sentencing guidelines.

As well as his lengthy ban Grant was given a suspended prison sentence after magistrates heard he drank to excess in an attempt to tackle 'demons' from his past.

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Lowestoft Magistrates' Court heard that on July, 6 Grant had taken a Renault Clio belonging to a neighbour after he had been drinking heavily with her partner.

The partner also got in the car.

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Tess James, prosecuting, said the Renault Clio was seen to being driven erratically as it sped up and zigzagged in Bevan Street West.

Mrs James said: 'The car then stopped on a pavement only a few feet from houses.'

When he got out of the car Grant was unsteady on his feet and appeared to be 'laughing about the whole thing'.

Mrs James added; 'He had consumed three litres of cider and two cans of Special Brew.'

The court heard Grant had a previous conviction for drink driving from 2007.

Grant could have faced a maximum six month prison sentence but he escaped jail after magistrates heard his heavy drinking was due to problems from his past life.

Rob Barley, mitigating, told the bench: 'The reading is above your guidelines. He had been drinking a significant amount of alcohol.

'They (Grant and the neighbour's partner) had been drinking to excess. They decided to go out for a short spin in the car.'

The court heard Grant, who is unemployed, had a drink problem for the last decade and had been in foster care after he suffered abuse.

Grant had also been badly effected by the death of his brother and had mental health problems.

Mr Barley said: 'He deals with these issues through the excessive consumption of alcohol. He is a young man with a number of demons and these demons need to be addressed.'

Grant was banned from driving for 60 months, given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work in the community.

He was also placed under a 12 month supervision order and ordered to pay court costs of �50.

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