A MAN has been fined more than £600 and lost his licence for two years after driving while three times the alcohol limit.

Steven Wright admitted drink-driving when he appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Rachel Dodsworth said police had been following Wright’s Vauxhall Corsa as it travelled along the A688 between Thindford and Metal Bridge shortly before 1am on May 31.

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Officers stopped the car on Thinford Road near West Cornforth and Ms Dodsworth said they could smell alcohol in Wright’s breath.

Wright, 36, of Arthur Street in Chilton, was found to have 115mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, with the legal limit being 35mcg, the court heard.

Callum Terry, representing Wright, said his client had watched England’s 3-0 win over Peru on the TV at home before driving to a friend’s home to have some drinks.

Mr Terry said Wright had not intended to drive home but made the stupid decision and 'schoolboy error' to make the journey at the end of the night.

The solicitor said Wright thought he would be fit to drive.

Mr Terry said Wright works as a sprayer of cars and although losing his licence will not cost him his job, he could be vulnerable in the future.

Magistrates fined Wright £667 and ordered him to pay a further £85 costs and £67 victim surcharge.

He was also banned from driving for 24 months but that could be reduced by a quarter if he completes the drink driver’s rehabilitation scheme which was offered to him.