A BAUGHURST man refused to give a breath test because he knew he was over the limit, a court heard.

Officers stopped James Erlam at 1pm on January 8, as he drove towards Sainsbury’s in Tadley, because their automatic number plate recognition system flagged up that he had no insurance.

Steve Fosler, prosecuting, said: “When questioned, Erlam did not seem to accept the reason why police had stopped him, and maintained he did have insurance and subsequently refused to supply a specimen of breath.”

Michael Stott, defending, said: “He is open and honest in saying he did not provide a specimen of breath because he had had a drink and knew that the test would be positive.

“He had been dry for the best part of a year, but he went to an office party, someone put a drink in his hand, and the rest is history.”

Mr Stott added that Erlam tended to drink when his seasonal work as a forester dried up in the winter months, and that his wife’s disappointment had given him “all the motivation” to stop drinking.

Erlam, 41, of Baughurst Road, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at a hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge Philip Gillibrand fined Erlam £300, plus £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge. He disqualified him from driving for 39 months, but offered him a place on a drink-driving course that would reduce his ban by 25 per cent.