A MOTORIST arrested for driving three times over the drink-drive limit was out trying to find his girlfriend, a court heard yesterday.

Kelvin Bowery, 25, may lose the two driving jobs he was due to start next month, after Chester-le-Street magistrates disqualified him from driving for two years, and sentenced him to 40 hours' community service.

Magistrates told Bowery, of Musgrave Gardens, in Gilesgate, Durham City, that they could have jailed him, but took into account his guilty plea, and the fact that he was of previous good character.

Bowery, who is jobless, told the court he decided to drive after his girlfriend went missing from a nightclub in Durham City, last Friday night.

He said: "It was a taxi ride away and I knew she was walking alone."

He was stopped in his Renault Clio during a routine police check in the city, at about 2.55am.

A breath test revealed that he was three times over the limit, roughly equivalent to six pints of beer for the average male.

Also charged with drink-driving was Paul Moorhead, 22, of Dunston Close, Chester-le-Street, who was also found to be about three times over the limit, when police pulled him over in his BMW on Friday night.

That case was adjourned until Thursday, January 4, and he was granted unconditional bail.

Magistrates also heard the case of Douglas Blyth, 43, of Havelock Terrace, in Tantobie, near Stanley, who was found to be nearly four times over the limit.

The bench asked for a pre-sentence report, ahead of sentencing at Consett magistrates on Tuesday, January 2. He was also granted unconditional bail