A HELENSBURGH man came within “a hair’s breadth” of a prison sentence after being caught behind the wheel on Christmas Eve while more than five times the legal alcohol limit.

David Cox, who lives in East King Street, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court last Tuesday for sentencing after pleading guilty to driving whilst under the influence on December 24 last year, his third drink driving offence.

The 37-year-old was found to have 117 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the limit is 22 microgrammes – after driving a van in South King Street.

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Speaking on Cox’s behalf, defence solicitor Kenny McGowan told the court of an accumulation of personal issues which had followed the breakdown of his client’s relationship.

Mr McGowan said: “In my submission, we are dealing with a man who has not coped at all well with the breakdown of his relationship.

“It is fair to say this is a tense situation which has caused difficulty.

“He in no way seeks to divert attention away from the fact that this is a serious matter. This is clearly an issue which he requires to address.”

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Sheriff William Gallacher told Cox: “It seems to me that you are a harm to the community if you allow yourself to get into the position you were in.

“With some hesitation I will authorise that you take part in a drink driving awareness programme.

“Do you understand that you are within a hair’s breadth of me sending you to custody?”

Cox was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work within eight months as a direct alternative to custody, and he will be subject to social work supervision for a period of two years.

He was also disqualified from driving for 40 months and must attend alcohol counselling.

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