A drink-drive dad admitted to a court he had been “pathetic and ridiculous” for getting behind the wheel while three-and-a-half times the limit.

Michael Derbyshire, 40, of Valley Drive, Dunston, Gateshead, made the confession while defending himself before magistrates in South Tyneside.

After pleading guilty to driving with excess alcohol and being asked why he had, he said: “At the time, I was going through a hell of a lot of problems.

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“It got on top of me. I took the car and had a drink. It’s pathetic and ridiculous what I’ve done, and I’m wholeheartedly sorry. It was very, very silly.

“I’ve been driving for 22 years, and I got my first points last year. I’ve never been in trouble with the police. I’ve never been locked up.”

Prosecutor Gurjot Kaur said Derbyshire was pulled over by police as he drove his Peugeot 508 in Mount Grove, Dunston, on Tuesday, August 10.

The print finisher gave a breath test reading of 122mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Ms Kaur added: “Officers had received reports of a suspected drink-driver at about 5.30pm.

“They spotted the Peugeot in Ede Avenue and followed it into Mount Grove.

“He smelled of alcohol and was taken to Forth Banks police station. He is a man of previous good character.”

Derbyshire also told the court he had switched to a job closer to home, knowing he faced a roads’ ban.

Magistrates banned him from driving for 36 months and fined him £200, with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

He was also made subject to a 12-month community order, with a requirement of 25 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

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