A MAN who drove at four times the legal alcohol limit around school closing time told a court he was glad he had been reported.

Frank Park, 49, was reported to police by a neighbour who saw him drive at speed and almost collide with another vehicle before mounting the kerb in a residential area of Darlington, the town’s magistrates heard on Thursday (March 27).

When officers arrived, a breath test revealed Park had 146mg of alcohol in his breath – over four times the 35mg legal limit.

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Prosecutor John Garside said Park told police that had been drinking in the Tanners pub in Darlington town centre and admitted that he had driven home whilst drunk “a few times” before.

He also told the officers he was disgusted with himself, Mr Garside said.

Mitigating, Jennifer Coxon said Park had been drinking to cope with complicated personal circumstances which included his second wife slipping back into heroin use and his first wife gaining full custody of their children.

She said: “This client is extremely ashamed of what he has done.

“He is somewhat glad that his neighbour did ring the police because it has given him a wake-up call to the position he has put himself in.”

Ms Coxon added that Park, of St Paul’s Place, Darlington, deserved credit for his early guilty plea and full admissions.

Magistrates concluded that the high reading and the fact that Park was drink-driving at 4pm on Wednesday afternoon when children could have been returning home from school pushed the offence over the custody threshold.

They sentenced Park to 16-weeks in prison, suspended for 12-months, and banned him from driving for three years.

He was also sentenced to 12-months community supervision and told to pay £165 in court charges.