Drive ban extended

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A BANNED driver has been disqualified for three more years after he got behind the wheel of his girlfriend’s car while almost twice the drink-drive limit.

Gary Cochrane, 24, was stopped by police driving the silver Ford Puma in Hartlepool after a night out with his girlfriend.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard how the couple got separated and Cochrane went home alone but then got in his girlfriend’s car and drove off.

He was previously banned from driving for three years by Teesside Crown Court in May 2010 for drink driving and dangerous driving.

In his latest offence, Cochrane was pulled over by police on Stockton Road, at around 4am on March 23.

Guy Prest, prosecuting, told the court: “At around 4am police were told about a silver Ford Puma being driven in Hartlepool and units were deployed.

“It was immediately apparent the driver was under the influence of alcohol and a roadside breath test proved positive.

“In interview he confirmed the vehicle was his girlfriend’s. The two had been out for a social evening but had bene separated.

“He had gone home alone, saw the vehicle and decided to take it out for a drive..

“He was on his way home when he was stopped by police.”

Cochrane was found to have 68 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Mr Prest said his previous convictions were “substantial aggravating features”.

Cochrane, of Middleton Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, driving above the alcohol limit and using a vehicle without insurance.

Stuart Haywood, mitigating, said: “His disqualification was very nearly completed.

“Mr Cochrane is ashamed of his actions and he realises how stupid he has been getting behind the wheel, not only while disqualified but also while in drink.”

Magistrates disqualified Cochrane from driving for 44 months but said that could be reduced if he completed a drink-drive rehabilitation course.

He was also given eight weeks’ prison which was suspended for 18 months with supervision.

And he must complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 prosecution costs.