A CLUB steward caused an off-duty police officer to take evasive action and drove on the wrong side of a busy by-pass while almost three times the drink-drive limit at 9.30am, a court was told.

Helen Varley, 37, had caused the police officer to have to take evasive action at a roundabout in Nelson.

The officer had thought her Peugeot 206 vehicle was being driven in a ‘careless and reckless manner,’ after he had spotted it in Scotland Road, and he was said to have seen her going from lane to lane. Burnley magistrates heard how Varley had then turned suddenly on to the Padiham by-pass ‘out of control’ and on the wrong side of the road before finally stopping on a car park.

The defendant denied, to the officer, being under the influence of alcohol, but when asked to go with him voluntarily to the police station, she agreed.

The hearing was told Varley gave two samples, the lowest showing 91 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The defendant, of Surrey Road, Nelson, admitted driving with excess alcohol on Surrey Road, on January 15.

She was fined £330, with a £33 victim surcharge, £85 costs and was banned for 23 months by the Bench, who said there was ‘some evidence of dangerous driving’. Varley had no previous convictions.

The defendant’s solicitor said she had had a driving licence for 17 years.

Varley, who usually did not drink, had alcohol after her shift at a local club finished. She had recently lost her grandmother and also a very close friend and accepted she was a bit down.

Varley had not expected herself to drive in such a manner and didn’t expect anybody to do so.

He added: “It’s very much an out-of-character incident and she has learnt her lesson. She is very remorseful.”