Mum caught drink driving at Clitheroe petrol station

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

An “alcoholic” mum, almost four times the limit, was caught after garage shop staff advised her not to drive or get back in her car and rang police, a court was told.

Melissa Morris (49) was in the driver’s seat of her vehicle when officers arrived at Primrose Garage on Whalley Road, Clitheroe, in the early hours.

Mrs Tracy Yates (prosecuting) told Burnley magistrates: "The keys were in the ignition. She appeared to be asleep but then she woke up and she opened the door. Officers took the keys out of the ignition. Her speech was heavily slurred and there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from the vehicle."

The prosecutor added: "She was uncooperative and refused to tell them her name and refused to provide a roadside sample. She was given a second opportunity to provide and she failed to do so. The reading at the police station was 130 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.” The legal limit is 35.

The court heard how Morris, said to struggle with mental health issues, had been drinking at home and then drove to Minds Matter in Clitheroe in a “cry for help.” As it was late Saturday night, nobody was there so she drank some more in the car park.

The mother-of-three, who now has liver damage, was said by a probation officer to be “absolutely devastated" to end up in court.

Mr Ben Leech (defending) said Morris was of previous good character. She fully cooperated once she was arrested and taken to the police station.

The solicitor said that about four years ago the defendant developed a relatively serious illness which took a long time to diagnose and address.

He continued: "That led to panic attacks which then led to her suffering from quite serious anxiety. That led further to depression and treatment for depression and anxiety. That led to a lot of medication. She started to rely on alcohol as somewhat of a crutch to get by.”

Mr Leech said Morris went to her GP and to Inspire, the alcohol treatment service, got a lot of help through family and friends and managed to get on top of things to some degree. Over the last eight months, however, she had returned to using drink far more frequently.

"There’s a significant element of remorse. She is clearly very sorry for the position she has placed herself in. She is extremely embarrassed and ashamed. I think the shock of having to go through the system will be far-reaching.”

The defendant, of Bracken Hey, Clitheroe, admitted driving with excess alcohol on July 14th. She was given a 12 -month community order, with a six-month alcohol treatment programme and a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement. The defendant was fined £180, with £85 costs and a £90 victim surcharge and was banned for 32 months.