An anxious woman who bought two bottles of wine and a bottle of vodka after driving to a petrol station was caught drink driving after a suspicious sales assistant alerted police.

Julie Wilson, 56, aroused suspicion when she visited Hills Garage in Penrith because she already smelled of drink, magistrates heard.

Police found her a short time later on the outskirts of Lazonby, sitting on the ground beside the open door of her Nissan Micra.

At Carlisle’s Rickergate court, Wilson, who lives in Lazonby, admitted drink driving.

Pam Ward, prosecuting, described how a breath test revealed that at the time of the offence – the evening of September 18 – she had 93mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

The prosecutor said: “The witness was a sales assistant at the garage. At 8pm, she noticed the defendant had bought two bottles of wine and a bottle of vodka, from the garage.

“She appeared to smell of intoxicants – but she drove away in her black Nissan Micra.”

The car’s details were passed on to police, who later found the car. When questioned, Wilson told police she had bought the wine in Penrith and intended to drink it at home. But she drank one of the bottles before that.

The defendant, a woman of previous good character, told police the offence was triggered by her going through a difficult time at work.

Tariq Khwam, for Wilson, said that while the defendant may appear confident she was struggling to cope with extreme anxiety and depression.

One reason for this was medical: the fact that a doctor had suddenly taken her off HRT therapy.

“That led to a significant change in her behaviour,” said Mr Khwam. “Another doctor said it should never have been stopped immediately. It should have been a slow process of withdrawal.”

The defendant, who works for a major retailer, had been signed off from work for eight weeks.

On the day of the offence, Wilson had picked up a voicemail message from one of her managers, inviting her to discuss her return to work.

Mr Khwam said: “She listened to that message and worked herself up into a kind of depressive frenzy.

“That is why she used alcohol. She was extremely upset but she was co-operative and accepts she was over the limit.”

The lawyer added that Wilson had been the victim of crime in a domestic setting and was now protected by a restraining order, preventing her attacker from making any contact with her whatsoever.

The lawyer added: “She is extremely ashamed and she apologises.”

Magistrates imposed a £250 fine, a £30 victim surcharge, and £85 costs. They banned Wilson from driving for 23 months.