A DRINK-DRIVER caught while almost three times over the limit has failed to win his freedom.

Malcolm Price, 42, of Heather Way, Stanley, County Durham, was jailed for four months at the end of last month by North Durham Magistrates after he admitted drink-driving and driving while disqualified.

He appealed against his sentence to Durham Crown Court, which heard that in December 2002, he was banned for 30 months, also for drink-driving.

The appeal heard that Price was arrested in Stanley in August after police saw his car swerving, and at one point going on the wrong side of the carriageway.

Price, who was almost three times over the legal drink-drive limit, admitted he had been drinking heavily and could not recall events.

Martin Powers, for Price, said his client had foolishly driven after an argument with his wife about where their car was parked.

He said Price was suffering from depression at the time, had marriage problems and was working long hours in a home for children with learning difficulties.

He appealed for a "more constructive" sentence that would allow his client, who could return to his job, to join a support programme for drink-drivers.

Judge Michael Cartlidge said prison was warranted, although he reduced the sentence to three months.

He said: "We as a court must make it plain that driving under the influence of a high level of alcohol is likely to attract custodial sentence.

"This is really a way of trying to deter people from driving as this appellant has done."