A CHESHIRE West and Chester councillor has been given a three-year driving ban and will have his alcohol intake monitored by an electronic tag after being convicted of drink-driving.

Matthew Bryan, who represents Upton as an Independent, had pleaded guilty in February to a charge of driving a motor vehicle while over the alcohol limit.

The charge related to an incident on August 9 last year when he was stopped by police while driving an Audi A3 along Eastgate Street in Chester city centre. When asked if he had been drinking he said 'no'. Then when asked to get out of the car he was noticed to stumble.

He was breathalysed at the scene and found to be over the limit. Officers were so concerned that instead of taking him to the police station for a further breath test, they took him to the Countess of Chester Hospital. Blood tests subsequently revealed he had 322 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his system - more than four times the legal limit of 80.

Bryan, 37, represented himself at the sentencing hearing on March 27 at Chester Magistrates Court. He told the court he had had an ‘horrific year’ following the loss of both parents-in-law and a close friend. He also claimed he had been driving to try and help a homeless person when the incident took place.

Adding that he was ‘really ashamed’, he added: "I’m not looking for sympathy. I seek the mercy of the court."

Addressing the bench of magistrates he added: "I don’t think I deserve any prison time. I’d like to take some therapy and do unpaid work - the story of my life - as I’m sure it is yours."

Chair of the magistrates bench Kirsty Hackett banned Bryan, of Tarvin Road, Chester, from driving for three years and gave him a 12-month community order.

He was also ordered to undertake 300 hours of unpaid work – reduced to 200 in recognition of his early guilty plea. He will also have to do a drink-driving awareness course at his own expense and was also ordered to pay £120 in court costs.

Bryan will also be subject to 120 days of alcohol abstinence monitoring, meaning he cannot drink alcohol for that period and will have to wear an electronic leg tag.

Alcohol monitoring tags take a sample of the wearer’s sweat every 30 minutes and provide a continuous record of whether an offender has been drinking. If the tag detects alcohol or is tampered with, an alert is sent to the Probation Service.

Up until last year, Bryan had been a high profile member of the ruling Labour group and the council’s cabinet member for energy, green spaces and climate emergency.

But last September it was announced he had resigned his cabinet post citing personal reasons, he also had the whip withdrawn by the Labour group. No further explanation was given by either Bryan or the Labour group at the time.

He currently stands as a non-aligned Independent.