A DRINK driver who was four and a half times the legal limit at 12.30pm claimed it was as a result of his drinking the night before.

Blackburn magistrates heard John Cunliffe gave a roadside reading of 145 but at the police station that had risen to 155.

Cunliffe, 37, of Broad Oak Road, Accrington, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol. He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months, ordered to complete 25 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay £85 costs and £128 victim surcharge.

Briony Cook, prosecuting, said a witness and his partner were travelling east on he M65 when they noticed a dark coloured VW Golf which was drifting between lanes one and two.

They overtook the vehicle before pulling off the motorway at Junction 7.

"They stopped at traffic lights and as they were waiting to set off were hit from behind by another car," said Miss Cook.

"When he got out the witness realised it was the same car he had seen being driven erratically on the motorway.

"The defendant told the other man he still wasn't with it because he had been partying the night before."

Graem Parkinson, defending, said his client fully accepted he shouldn't have been behind the wheel.

"He is very fortunate he wasn't involved in a more serious accident," said Mr Parkinson.

He said problematic relationship breakdowns had led to Cunliffe taking refuge in alcohol.