A NIGHT out in Carlisle ended with a Whitehaven motorist losing his driving licence.

The city's Rickergate Magistrates' Court heard that Neil Russell, 39, was seen driving erratically near to Carlisle's Nelson Bridge at 4.30ama on March 24.

He denied any bad driving but he did fail a roadside breath test.

In court, the defendant, a self-employed builder, of Rutland Avenue, Whitehaven, admitted drink driving.

Prosecutor Pam Ward said police became interested in the defendant after spotting him in his Mitsubushi Challenger car, driving "erratically" on Nelson Bridge and then pulling into Charlotte Street without indicating.

He pulled over on Dalston Road, outside the Cumberland News building.

Officers gave him a roadside breath-test, which produced a positive result for alcohol.

A latest test confirmed a reading of 63mcg in 100mls of breath.

The legal limit is 35mcg.

David Thompson, for Russell, said he was a man of previous good character.

The background was that the defendant had enjoyed a night out in Carlisle with friends, the group having sensibly booked into a B&B on London Road.

"But he awoke at 5am and decided to get up and make his way back to west Cumbria because he had things to attend to," said the lawyer.

"He didn't appreciate that he would still be over the limit."

Mr Thompson said the defendant disputed a police claim that he had driven erratically, weaving about the road in his car.

"But he accepts that he should not have been on the road in this situation," continued the lawyer.

The inevitable driving ban would cause problems with the defendant's work and he may be forced to claim benefits, he said.

"It's an inescapable consequence of his foolishness on that particular day," added Mr Thompson.

District Judge Gerald Chalk banned Russell from driving for 17 months.

He also imposed a fine of £250, with £85 costs, and a £30 victim surcharge.

The judge offered the defendant the drink drivers' rehabilitation course, which if completed will reduce his ban by a quarter.