A MOTORIST whose car was found stranded on a motorway bridge near Penrith was both over the drink drive limit and banned.

The defence lawyer representing 24-year-old Nathan Hendry, who has previous convictions for drink and drug driving, got into trouble after deciding to treat his pregnant girlfriend to a weekend away following a tough few months.

At Carlisle's Rickergate court, the defendant admitted three offences: drink driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Prosecutor Peter Kelly said the offence was discovered at 11.20pm on March 15.

Police officers on patrol noticed a VW Golf parked on the motorway bridge near Penrith and decided to check it out. Almost immediately, Hendry volunteered to the officers that he had been disqualified eight months earlier.

The officers also suspected he had consumed alcohol and so breathalysed the defendant. He proved to be marginally over the drink drive limit.

When he was asked where he had driven from, he refused to answer the question. “There was a passenger in the vehicle,” said Mr Kelly. “In February 2023, he was prosecuted in County Durham for drink driving and disqualified for 12 months.”

Hendry had also been given a 30-month ban for drug driving.

A probation officer who interviewed the defendant said his uncle had passed away two months before the offence and Hendry had felt he needed to “do something for his partner.” They booked a weekend’s stay in a log cabin at Appleby.

They enjoyed a drink when they arrived, but they were too late for food and so set off to find somewhere else to eat.

“He said he had only had two pints of lager,” said the officer. “He knew he was disqualified.” The defendant was the sole provider for his family, which includes his partner and three young children.

John Smith, defending, said there was no evidence of bad driving. Outlining the background, the lawyer said: “It was as described. He’d had a particularly bad time over the last 12 months.

“His uncle was particularly close to him – like a father. He wanted to treat his girlfriend to something pleasant for a change rather than the bad things which had been happening.  They went to the log cabin in Appleby.

“They arrived too late at the pub for something to eat and so drove towards Penrith, but they ran out of petrol on A66 [motorway] overbridge. The police car then immediately pulled up behind them.”

Magistrates said the offence was aggravated because there was a passenger and because of his previous record.

Referring to the drink driving, the lead magistrate told Hendry, of The Hollys, Birtley, Chester-Le-Street, Gateshead: “This is the third offence where you have driven under the influence of something and this this does cross the custody threshold.”

The magistrates imposed eight weeks jail but suspended the sentence for a year. They also imposed a new 36-month ban, with £85 costs and a £154 victim surcharge.