A MOTORIST caught drink driving in the Eden Valley blamed his actions on stress at work.

But James Alexander Usher, 30,who admitted the offence at Carlisle's Rickergate Magistrates' Court, decided he would now have to cycle the five miles to and from his workplace.

Pam Ward, prosecuting, said police noticed the defendant's driving because he swerved as he drove along Boroughgate, Appleby, shortly after midnight on Friday, June 21.

"He swerved on three more occasions," said Mrs Ward.

This involved the defendant's Vauxhall Astra crossing solid white lines, said the prosecutor.

Police pulled him over the near to the A66.

When the officers spoke to Usher, they could smell alcohol on his breath.

A man of previous good character, the defendant, of Burn Bank, Warcop, was fully co-operative with police at the roadside.

A breathalyser test showed he had an alcohol reading of 53mct in 100mls of breath.

The legal limit for driving is 35mcg.

"What happened on this night will have a disastrous and cumulative effect," said Usher's defence solicitor Geoff Smith.

"He'd had a difficult day -a run-in with the chef [where he works], who continues to be difficult and will continue to be difficult."

There had been another incident at work and the defendant had done a 14 hour shift, said Mr Smith.

"He had a drink to wind down and get rid of the stress," said the lawyer.

"We know that it took him over the drink drive limit. He lives five miles from where he works and he's going to need to get to work and back.

"But he's very practical and has put his car up for sale.

"His partner works at the same establishment and both are going to cycle the five miles to and the five miles back from work at the end of their shifts.

"In 12 months, he'll be an awful lot fitter than he is at the moment."

The defendant and his partner would also have to cycle through the winter months, in an area known for heavy snow, said the lawyer.

Mr Smith added: "He has learned his lesson.

"This is a man who has never appeared before the court in the past and I can guarantee that he won't be appearing before the court in the future."

Magistrates imposed a £281 fine, with £85 prosecution costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

They imposed a 14 month driving ban, but offered Usher the drink drivers' rehabilitation course, which will reduce his ban.