A CHESTER man was caught drink-driving twice during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ian Darren Parker, 33, of Burton Road, was over three times the drink-drive limit when he was stopped in a VW Golf on April 19.

He was then nearly twice the drink-drive limit when stopped in a Renault Clio on May 20.

Appearing at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, August 7, Parker admitted two counts of drink-driving, as well as stealing money from the Saddle Inn pub on January 29.

He was handed a two-year community order and a three-year driving ban.

Prosecuting, Debbie Byrne said the Saddle Inn offence happened at 8.30pm when Parker, along with co-accused 27-year-old Lewis Roy Clifford Thomasson, of Marl Way, Llandudno Junction, and another man, stole £60 from the pool table at the pub.

The three men had tampered with the pool table and stole the money before bar staff interrupted them and they left.

On April 20, at 7.40pm, police saw a VW Golf being driven at speed on St Anne Street and an officer on patrol blocked it.

Two men were in the car, including driver Parker, and both were intoxicated.

When Parker got out of the car, the vehicle rolled back as Parker had not put the handbrake on.

A breath test showed Parker had 110 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, compared to the legal limit of 35.

On May 20, at 1.45am, CCTV operators had spotted Parker getting in a car with alcohol containers.

A roadside breath test was carried out with police and Parker blew 60 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

The court heard he had nine previous convictions for 15 offences, including a conspiracy to commit theft from August 2018, for which he received a 15-month prison sentence, but nothing on his record for drink- or drug-driving.

Defending, Andy Holliday said Parker had admitted the offences at the first opportunity.

On the evening of April 20, police had been called to a suspected affray, and Parker had been fleeing from it. He accepted he could have run away instead of driving, and understood how "reckless" his choice was.

For the theft, Parker was not directly involved in the tampering of the pool table, but accepted he was involved in the theft.

Chair of magistrates Harold Tonge told Parker: "This offence comes very close to crossing the custody threshold."

Parker was handed a two-year community order to include up to 35 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and 19 sessions of a thinking skills programme.

He must complete 250 hours unpaid work and was banned from driving for three years, a ban which would be reduced by a quarter if Parker successfully completed a drink-drive referral course.

He must also pay court costs of £255 and a £90 victim surcharge.

  • Lewis Roy Clifford Thomasson also appeared at Chester Magistrates Court and admitted theft from the Saddle Inn, as well as two thefts from vending machines at the Countess of Chester Hospital on January 16 and January 22.

He was put on a 12-month community order with a 16-week 7pm-7am curfew, and must pay £370 compensation to the company responsible for the vending machines, plus £170 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.