A DISQUALIFIED driver who claimed he had been storing his car at his cousin’s to avoid temptation to get behind the wheel had been drinking in the area and decided to drive the vehicle to a McDonald’s Restaurant where he was detected over the limit.
Police were told about a possible over-the-limit motorist at the drive-thru in Coleraine and officers then discovered Darren James Kennedy had excess alcohol in his breath.
The 32-year-old, with an address at Victoria Street in Ballymoney, was also on the road despite being a disqualified driver and he was uninsured for a Peugeot 307.
Officers called to the scene on August 24 this year switched the engine off.
Coleraine Magistrates Court heard the defendant had an alcohol in breath reading of 68 with the legal limit being 35.
Defence solicitor was John Murphy said the defendant’s actions had been “stupid” and after being disqualified in June he was living in Ballymoney and had left the vehicle at his cousin’s “to avoid temptation”.
On the date in question he had been in Coleraine and with drink taken he decided to take the vehicle the “short distance” to the Riverside Retail Park and has since disposed of the car.
Mr Murphy said the defendant had moved to Ballymoney to keep out of trouble and a pre-sentence report was “positive”.
District Judge Peter King said his “default” position in such cases was prison and the aggravating factor was that the original driving ban was drink related and then he was detected again.
He said he had to protect the public but because of the “very positive” pre-sentence report on the defendant, who had 33 convictions on his record, he was not going to jail him.
He ordered Kennedy to do 200 hours of Community Service and banned him from the roads for five years.
He warned the defendant if he breached Community Service he could face four months behind bars.