A 61-YEAR-OLD man caught almost twice the limit was stumbling and struggling to lock his car door, a court was told.

Burnley Magistrates heard how a ban for Michael McMahon would have devastating effects on other people's lives. The defendant believed a cold remedy may have upped his breath test reading.

McMahon, of Colne Road, Burnley, admitted driving with excess alcohol and was disqualified for 12 months. He must also pay a £75 fine and £55 costs.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, told the court that at about 10.40pm, a police officer saw the defendant driving on Accrington Road before he pulled up on Florence Street.

McMahon stumbled on his feet and seemed to be struggling locking his car doors. The officer could smell alcohol on his breath and after a roadside breath test, the defendant was arrested and taken to the police station.

McMahon was co-operative with officers and the lowest of two breath tests showed 64 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35. The defendant had no previous convictions.

Rachel Hodgson, defending, said McMahon had a cleaning driving record and had been driving for 42 years.

The defendant accepted he had had some vodka, but he believed the alcohol level in his system may have been affected by a cold remedy. When he had been back to the chemist, he had been told the preparation contained alcohol. McMahon would have been over the limit anyway but believed that made the reading higher.

A driving ban would have devastating effects on other people. McMahon's girlfriend was registered blind and he took her a meal every day. He also took food to an elderly man and did some shopping for neighbours.

Miss Hodgson said McMahon fully accepted he shouldn't have been driving.