A 49-YEAR-OLD nurse caught twice the drink drive limit had got behind the wheel in a 'moment of madness' after a meeting with a new lady friend turned sour, a court was told.

Burnley magistrates heard how 'model citizen' and musician John Griffin had planned to sleep in his vehicle, was unable to settle and at about 6.30am 'very stupidly' decided to set off back to his home in Rossendale from Preston.

Griffin, who works in the accident and emergency department of a Manchester Hospital and who has been a nurse for 25 years, had been stopped by police at 6.50am, after he was seen swerving from one lane to lane two on the M65. He gave a test showing 72 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The defendant, of West View, Waterfoot, admitted driving with excess alcohol on January 2, at Burnley. Griffin, who had no previous convictions, was fined £450, with a £45 victim surcharge and £85 costs. He was banned for 17 months.

Tom Snape, prosecuting, said officers on the eastbound carriageway of the M65 saw a Nissan Almera and stopped it. The defendant smelled of alcohol and gave a positive breath test.

Matthew Miller, for Griffin, described him as a " model citizen" and said his behaviour had been impulsive.

He had met a lady friend in Preston and the relationship was in its early stages. They had been to the pub and she offered him accommodation on her couch. He took up the offer, they carried on drinking, things were going well, but then took a turn for the worse when Griffin mentioned in passing a previous relationship and the lady didn't take very kindly to it.

Mr Miller said Griffin asked for a duvet, but the lady refused, he felt he was no longer welcome to stay in the house and decided to walk back to the pub for his car.

The solicitor continued :" His intention was to sleep in the car until he felt able to drive. He did go to sleep in the back but was unable to settle as the events of the evening were preying on his mind. At around 6.30am, he made the very stupid decision to drive the vehicle back to his house in Rossendale." Mr Miller added:" It was a moment of madness and once he made that decision, he couldn't reverse it."

The solicitor told the court the defendant had a passion for music and performed at gigs all around the area. A ban would have an impact on that as well as his professional life.