A CARE worker forced to isolate from his children to protect his patients drank some whiskey after returning home from a late shift.

Blackburn magistrates heard Marcus Campbell later got in his car to go to an all night garage for cigarettes and failed a breathalyser after being stopped by police.

Campbell, 32, of Bobbin Close, Accrington, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol. He was fined £180 with £85 costs and £34 victim surcharge and banned from driving for 12 months.

Scott Parker, prosecuting, said police saw Campbell driving erratically at 6.15 am and stopped him in Union Road, Oswaldtwistle.

Damian Pickup, defending, said his client worked full time as a carer with the National Autistic Society and also had joint custody of his two children. The offence was committed on April 21, about three weeks after the country went into lockdown.

"He was told that to continue doing his full-time job working with vulnerable children and adults he had to isolate from everyone else so as not to put the children at risk," said Mr Pickup. "The children had to go back to their respective mothers and at the time of this offence he hadn't seen them for three weeks and it was getting on top of him."

Mr Pickup said after working a late shift his client got home at midnight.

"He was tired and upset and drank two miniature bottles of whiskey which had been given to him as a present," said Mr Pickup. " He hoped that would help him sleep but it didn't. When he got into his car to go for some cigarettes he didn't think he would be over the limit"

Mr Pickup said Campbell had a second part-time job driving children to and from an after school club which had lost as a result of the offence He would retain his job with the National Autistic Society but would be demoted because he could no longer drive.