A man who was caught under the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel of a Mercedes he took without the owner’s consent has been banned from driving.

Johnathon Saunders, 36, of West End, Sedgefield, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court charged with a series of offences committed on Saturday, July 8.

The court was told Saunders took a Mercedes A160 from Newton Aycliffe without the consent of the owner and was driving without the required licence. 

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He was apprehended on the A167 at Newton Aycliffe, where he was found to have 65 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - exceeding the prescribed limit.

Saunders, who pleaded guilty to the charges, was sentenced on Monday (September 11). 

He was disqualified from driving for 17 months and made the subject of a 12-month community order with a requirement to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

He was further ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a £114 surcharge.