Burnley man 'disgusted with himself' after being caught drink-driving

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A self-employed ground-worker, caught three times the limit, was an advert for how drink-driving can destroy your life, his solicitor told a court.

Michael Eccles has been banned for two years, putting not only himself, but his son who worked with him, out of a job. The 52-year-old has had to see if he can sign on for benefits and is in mortgage arrears.

Burnley magistrates were told he had been drinking vodka at a friend’s house, two or three streets away, before he got behind the wheel.

Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said Eccles was stopped on Cornel Grove in the town at about 5-45pm.

He gave a positive roadside breath test reading of 116 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. Eccles was taken to the station, where he blew 109 microgrammes of alcohol. The legal limit is 35.

Probation officer Mr Elliott Smith, who interviewed the defendant, told the court: ”He told me he is disgusted with himself. He has let himself down. He has been working for 35 years and has two vans. He is a ground-worker and maintenance worker. His son has come into the business and started to work with him.

“He has gone to the benefits agency to see if he can apply for Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. His mortgage payment is now one month behind.”

Mr Daniel Frazer, defending Eccles, told the Bench: "If you wish to advertise for how drink-driving can destroy your life, I think Mr Eccles fits the bill.”

The solicitor said that "nobody was more acutely aware” of what he had done than the defendant.

Mr Frazer added Eccles had had to turn down jobs and said: "He attaches a stigma to not being in work.”

The defendant, of Cornel Grove, Burnley, admitted a drink-driving offence, on August 5th. He was given 100 hours unpaid work and must pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 costs.