Former police officer narrowly avoids jail

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A former Met Police officer who lost his father and his job within a matter of months, has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.

Andrew Clarke (37), of Lancaster Drive, Long Sutton, was charged with two drink-drive-related offences within the space of two months.

On March 4, he was stopped by police on Lancaster Drive, Long Sutton, at 3.30pm and produced a reading of 138 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - almost four times the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

At 7,45pm on May 6, Clarke was found in his Audi A5 car parked in a lay-by on the A17 at Fosdyke, with his car keys in the ignition, and produced a breath test result of 97 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, while on bail for the first charge.

A report from the probation service revealed Clarke had long had a problem with alcohol and had self-referred to a residential rehab clinic in 2012 - a course which he succesfully completed.

However, in 2015, his circumstances changed when his father died and his problems were compounded by depression.

Following the second arrest, he lost his accommodationafter his mother threw him out and he found himself unemployed with £10,000 of debt.

Defending, Elizabeth Harte told the court: “He makes no excuses. He secured good work in the security industry after leaving the police and hopes to enjoy that again.

“After the loss of his career and continuing health problems, he fell out with his mother, with whom he had been living since the death of his father. He was at rock bottom and was sleeping in his car.

“He is a very law-abiding person who has been struggling with an illness.

“He doesn’t want to draw benefits, he wants to continue to give through payment of taxes.

“He knows what he has to do and he knows he can do it.

Miss Harte also informed the court that Clarke had booked himself onto another residential rehab course prior to his court appearance.

After long consideration by the magistrates, Clarke was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, a 36-month driving ban, 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Clarke was also ordered to seek treatment for his alcohol problem.