A MAN who had been on a night out with his wife at a social club in Ellesmere Port took the decision to drive home rather than wait 90 minutes for a taxi.

But Gary Sidney Peter Norman, 52, of Dove Close, Elton, had been drinking that night on March 1 and was on medication prescribed for pain in his foot.

When taken to custody, Norman failed to provide a specimen for analysis.

He admitted the offence at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, March 20 and was handed a two-year driving ban and a 12-month community order.

Prosecuting, Amanda York said it was 12.50am when Norman and his wife left the Groves Sports and Social Club.

They had been drinking whiskey and police were notified. Officers attended Norman's address and an initial reading of 101 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath was recorded.

But a second, confirmatory reading could not be obtained from Norman when he was in custody as he failed to provide a sample.

Norman had four previous convictions for 12 offences.

Defending, Steve Coupe said Norman had not been before the court for 13 years, with nothing similar on his record.

He worked night shifts so this was a rare chance for him and his wife to go to a social event.

There was a 90-minute wait for a taxi at the end of the night and he was feeling uncomfortable due to the pain in his foot, so made the "foolish decision" to drive home.

There was no evidence of impaired driving.

A probation report said Norman had consumed alcohol for five hours on the night and the probation officer expressed concern that Norman had felt he was still ok to drive after that.

The thought that this offence could have seen him going to prison came as a shock to him.

Magistrates handed Norman a 12-month community order to include 14 sessions of a drink-impaired drivers programme and 150 hours unpaid work.

The two-year driving ban could be reduced by one quarter upon completion of a drink-drive rehabilitation course.

He must pay a £90 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

As he left the court, Norman said to magistrates: "I am sorry for wasting your time."