Driver had half a bottle of vodka

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A drink-driver was found slumped over the wheel at Netherfield after downing half a bottle of vodka.

Members of the public called police after seeing Shaffick Gobindram, 40, of Ridgewood Gardens, Bexhill, swerve erratically across the road near Netherfield on 28 September last year.

Gobindram, a qualified nurse, eventually fell asleep at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta by Darwell Hill at around 4.50pm.

At Hastings Magistrates’ Court this month, prosecutor Jeremy King told the bench that he was just over four times the legal limit.

He said: “He told the police he had been working very long hours and was tired.”

Gobindram pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while unfit through drink.

Defending, Madeleine Priestley said Gobindram had been under stress due to balancing a heavy workload of nursing care at The Priory, Tunbridge Wells, with completing a masters degree at Plymouth University, and that he had resorted to self-medicating with alcohol.

“He recognises what he did was very wrong. It is clear he was suffering from stress at the time.

“He was working sometimes 15 hours a day. After work on that day he bought himself some vodka and a soft drink. He drank about half the bottle of vodka and then decided to carry on driving.”

He was given a two-year community order for 260 hours of unpaid work, a three-year driving ban, and £145 of fines. Magistrate David Wallis told him “Normally the starting point for this offence is twelve weeks custody.”