A WOMAN who got behind the wheel whilst four times the drink drive limit after an argument with her sisters has been banned from driving.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court heard that Susan Elaine Sams was banging on windows days before Christmas when police were called to deal with the domestic incident.

A road side breath test showed that she had 143mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Natalie Robinson, prosecuting, said: "An officer was called to a domestic incident after an allegation was made that the defendant had turned up and was banging on the windows of the property.

"The officer pulled into the street and saw the suspect's vehicle parked outside of the address. He looked in and saw nobody in the vehicle.

"A female in the garden identified herself as the suspect at which point someone else came out and said she had been drink driving.

"In terms of her record she has no previous convictions, the aggravating feature is simply the very high reading."

A report from probation said Sams had been drinking alcohol for numerous days before the incident.

The probation officer added: "She tells me she only had two drinks on that evening but the previous night she had drank and drank so effectively just topped her levels up.

"She had been arguing with her sisters which resulted in police being called. She is a binge drinker. Her mother passed away four years ago and that's when her alcohol intake began to increase.

"She did attend a private facility in Blackpool for 28 days and says she found it very good and helpful, however she did not have the funds to stay there for longer.

"She only managed four days before she began drinking again."

Sams' solicitor said the 47-year-old had also been made redundant, separated from her long-term partner and suffered the loss of a pet.

He added: "It's not an excuse but it does paint a picture of someone who needs some help and support.

"This is her first conviction and she is ashamed of that, she knows she is at serious risk of custody today."

Sams, of Bylands Close, St Helen Auckland, Bishop Auckland, pleaded guilty to driving whilst over the legal drink drive limit on December 21 last year.

Chair of the bench, Eileen Little, said: "These are very serious matters as you understand, and we can't diminish that in any way."

She was sentenced to a 12 month community order with a requirement to take part in a six month alcohol treatment programme.

She was also banned from driving for 36 months and must pay £85 costs and £90 victim surcharge.