Drink-driver so over the limit even he couldn’t believe breath test reading

Suffolk Constabulary are appealing for any information about a burglary in Bishops Croft on November

Suffolk Constabulary are appealing for any information about a burglary in Bishops Croft on November 15. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich man who drove with no headlights after drinking eight cans of lager at a barbecue has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Gavin Keeble’s was found to be four times the legal alcohol limit after being pulled over by police for driving without headlights at about 10.30pm on August 5.

Officers stopped the 50-year-old’s Volkswagen Polo near the junction of Defoe Road and Macaulay Road, on the Whitton estate, in Ipswich.

Keeble, of Baronsdale Close, smelled of alcohol and was carrying four cans of lager on the passenger seat of his car, according to police.

A positive roadside breath test was followed by two substantive tests at Martlesham Heath police headquarters, where the lowest reading indicated 140 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mcg.

During a sentencing hearing at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Monday, prosecutor Ian Devine said Keeble had admitted the offence at the same court on August 20 but applied for an adjournment in order to present evidence to challenge the level of reading.

“He accepted being over the limit,” said Mr Devine.

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“But not that the reading would have been 140mcg, based on his stated consumption of eight cans of lager over the course of a barbecue that afternoon.

“The expectation was for Mr Keeble to produce medical or forensic expert evidence. When he did not produce any, magistrates found the prosecution case proved and the matter was adjourned for a pre-sentence report.”

Keeble told magistrates he initially suspected unabsorbed alcohol had been be pushed into his mouth by a bout of acid reflux at the time of his arrest, resulting in a false alcohol reading, but that he was now prepared to accept everything in the report.

Magistrates said Keeble’s offence lay within the top bracket of their sentencing guidelines for drink-driving – with 12 weeks’ custody the starting point upon conviction.

They chose to suspend the sentence for two years and impose a 12-month community order, with up to 15 days of rehabilitation requirement, to include a drink-driver alcohol management programme.

He was disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to pay costs.