A HGV driver who ‘couldn’t walk straight’ when he got out of his Fiat 500 has lost his driving licence.

Nigel Smith was more than twice the drink drive limit when he was breathalysed following his arrest on February 4 this year.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard how the 62-year-old was reported to the police by a concerned member of the public who watched him staggering to his car.

The court heard how he been to a shop in his car to enable him to buy more alcohol.

Liz McGowan, prosecuting, said: “He could not walk in a straight line and was staggering around.

“Police spotted his red Fiat 500 and the defendant was watched driving for a short period of time.

“The defendant drove back to his home and the police arrested him there.”

Smith, of Grayson Road, Spennymoor, pleaded guilty to drink driving after he was recorded as having 77 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Stephen Hamill, mitigating, said his client was a HGV driver but was currently on the sick from work.

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He added: “This is so out of character for him that his family is struggling to understand what happened on that day.

“He is ashamed about what happened and expects to lose his job as a result of his conviction.”

David Shallow, the chairman of the magistrates’ bench, banned Smith from driving for 17 months and ordered him to pay a total £343 in fines and court costs.

He added: “This is a very serious matter. You could have had an accident and injured yourself, other road users or pedestrians.”