A POLICE officer was astonished to learn the window fitter he had pulled over in Wickes car park was almost four times over the drink-drive limit.

The constable, who followed Transit driver Thomas Matthews-Eggar to Gipsy Lane, was able to hold a conversation with the suspect and there was nothing in his driving manner to cause concern.

Now, the 33-year-old, of Chalvedon Green, Walcot, has been banned from driving for 32 months, fined £200 and given six months to complete an alcohol treatment programme, after he pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through drink.

Prosecuting, Keith Ballinger said automatic number plate recognition cameras had picked up Matthews-Eggar’s van driving down Ocotal Way at around 2pm on Friday. Reports to police suggested it was being driven by someone over the limit.

Stopped at Wickes, he told police he had drunk a can of beer at lunchtime. A breathalyser test later showed he had 134 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Gordon Hotson, defending, said his client had been at a godparent’s funeral the day before. Matthews-Eggar had drunk heavily but claimed to have felt able to drive the following day.

The self-employed tradesman, of previous good character, had struggled with alcoholism and had been referred to addiction service Turning Point, his solicitor added.

Magistrates sentenced Matthews-Eggar to a 12-month community order, fined him £200 and disqualified him from driving for 32-months. He must pay £85 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.