Over-the-limit pensioner became confused

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GETTING behind the wheel while twice over the drink drive limit has seen a confused pensioner receive his first conviction.

Patrick Wheeler, 83, was stopped by police after a fellow motorist, who parked her vehicle in Polegate High Street, returned to find it had been damaged.

She saw a Vauxhall Astra behind it, approached the driver and noticed a bottle of whiskey in the car. Police were called and looked for the vehicle, which had left the scene, and found it around 15 minutes later.

Eastbourne magistrates heard that the same car was seen hitting the kerb before coming to rest. Wheeler, of Paddock Gardens, Polegate, was seen getting out and then falling over and hitting his head on a wall.

A reading showed he had 70mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

He pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop after a road accident. A matter of failing to report an accident was withdrawn.

Victoria James, defending, said, “You heard Mr Wheeler got home, he bumped his head outside and received treatment.

“The ambulance crew took the view he was fit to be taken to police station custody. My client is saying he can’t remember what happened prior to that. He accepts the facts put forward by the prosecution.

“He was seen by a nurse in custody and told to go to A&E. He had a sub-haematoma to his head, a fracture to his wrist and spent eight days in hospital.”

She said is wife was in poor health and as a result of being under pressure he had been drinking, adding, “He also has a poor memory and would have forgot he had been drinking that day. He said since this incident he hasn’t had a drink.”

Magistrates banned Wheeler from driving for 18 months and said he would need to take an extended driving test should he choose to drive again. He was also fined £100, told to pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.