A MAN who had been drinking vodka while consoling a friend was found to be more than four times the drink drive limit when he was breathalysed as he set off to drive home.

Blackburn magistrates heard Zydrunas Vainutis gave a reading of 160 against the legal limit of 35 when he was tested at the roadside. His breath sample at to police station gave a reading of 149.

Vainutis, 43, of Belle Vue Close, Nelson, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

He was sentenced to 26 weeks in custody suspended for two years, made subject to a community order for 12 months with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement and six months alcohol treatment order.

He was ordered to pay £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs. He was banned from driving for 60 months after the court was told he had a previous conviction for drink driving in 2012.

Hilary Reece, prosecuting, said the breathalyser reading was "exceptionally high."

Police had been alerted to a possible drink driver and saw Vainutis behind the wheel in Scotland Road, Nelson, at 2.45 pm.

Vainutis told the probation service he and his friend had drunk 300 centilitres of vodka while they were sitting in the car and he was aware he was over the limit.

Aftab Bakhat, defending, said the friend in question had received some "terrible" news and Vainutis had gone to console him.

"He accepts they were drinking while they were talking and the decision to drive had been a gross error of judgement," said Mr Bakhat.

"It could easily have ended in a tragic incident."