A HARD-WORKING Wigton man was caught drink driving just minutes after police officers spoke to him outside a pub and advised him to get a taxi.

Ashley Rudd, 26, admitted the offence at Carlisle’s Rickergate Magistrates’ Court.

Pam Ward, prosecuting, said police were called out to the Dog and Gun pub in Skelton, near Penrith, on the evening of December 9 last year after a report of a disturbance.

“When police arrived, the defendant had a conversation with the officers,” said Mrs Ward,

“He asked if he could drive and he was advised that he should not drive.

"He was advised to take a taxi.”

Within minutes, said Mrs Ward, the defendant the officers saw the defendant driving a white transit van along Ellonby Road, in Skelton.

He was immediately stopped and arrested.

A breath test showed he had just under twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

Mark Shepherd, for Rudd, said the defendant was the kind of person who was least likely to get himself into this situation: a young man who worked hard all day and then, while others sat at home watching TV and relaxing, he worked hard in the evenings, helping on a farm.

The lawyer said: “He works from 6am or 7am until midnight, every single day.

"He does not stop.”

On the day of the offence, Rudd, of Holme View, Newton Arlosh, Wigton, a work colleague had been determined that the defendant should go with him for a drink with him.

Though normally somebody who would not say yes, on this occasion Rudd relented and went to the pub.

After drinking lager, Rudd was asked to leave the pub as a result of something which was said and misinterpreted, said Mr Shepherd, though he did not say who had made the comment or what it was.

The inevitable driving ban would have a devastating effect on the defendant, said the lawyer.

Over the last six years, Rudd had gone through some personal difficult times, which had seen him contemplating ending his own life. "What got him through it was the love and support of his family and those people he works with and works for," said Mr Shepherd.

Rudd had spend his final day with a driving licence helping to deliver a fridge to a friend who had previously been storing milk in cold water in a sink, added the lawyer.

Magistrates said that they appreciated that Rudd - supported in court by his mother and a work colleague - was a hard working young man but he had been advised by the police not to drive and yet disregarded that advice. He was given a 17 month driving ban, with a £900 fine, £85 costs, and a £90 victim surcharge.

Rudd was offered the drink driver's rehabilitation course, which will reduce the length of his ban if completed in time.