Drive ban after 100th birthday

Blackpool Magistrates Court

Blackpool Magistrates Court

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A CELEBRATION weekend for his grandmother’s 100th birthday ended up with a former professional snowboarder being arrested for driving while three-and-a-half times over the limit.

Matthew Sharples, who took part in snowboarding events representing England, twice denied having had a drink when questioned by a police officer.

Sharples, 32, of Rossendale Road, St Annes, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol without insurance and not in accordance with his learner’s licence.

Alison Quanbrough, prosecuting, said police saw Sharples driving a Corsa without lights on Clifton Drive North, St Annes, at 11.30pm on June 17.

When stopped Sharples was twice asked if he had been drinking.

He replied: “I have not had a drink. I have just got up and wanted a cigarette.”

A breath test showed 117 micrograms of alcohol in his body – 35 is the limit.

Sharples, who had no previous convictions, said he had recently come back from France where he had lived for 15 years.

The weekend of the offence there were celebrations for his grandmother’s 100th birthday, which family and friends from France attended.

Sharples added: “I had gone to sleep at 6pm. I woke up and I wanted some cigarettes.

“It was about 11.30pm.

“I felt absolutely fine. I would never have got in a car if I did not think I was OK. I will regret it until the day I die.

“I don’t want to drive again and I have not had a cigarette since then.”

He was sentenced to do 140 hours’ unpaid work for the community and banned from the road for two years by District Judge Rod Ross sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.