A SELF-EMPLOYED plumber will likely have to wind up his business after being banned from driving for three years for refusing to provide a breath sample.

Paul Oakley refused to provide breath samples at Worcester Police Station after failing a roadside breath test on his way home from the pub.

“He mistakenly believed he could speak to a solicitor before taking a breath test,” said Mark Steward, defending.

Oakley admitted to charges of failing to provide a specimen for analysis at magistrates’ court on Thursday.

The 42-year-old had been seen by officers reversing out of the car park of the Prince of Wales pub on Windermere Drive at 2.30am on March 25.

Lesley Ashton, prosecuting, said officers followed Oakley’s white van as his driving seemed erratic and saw as he drove over white lines and was braking and indicating for no apparent reason.

On pulling him over and speaking to him, she said they could “detect intoxicating liquor” on his breath and he told them he had had two pints.

He then blew 104 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mg – during a roadside breath test and was arrested.

At the station, he refused to provide the required two further samples, having been asked on three separate occasions, added Miss Ashton.

Mr Steward said on the evening in question, Oakley, of Threshfield Drive, had been arguing with his partner at their home before going to the pub.

The court heard how the dad-of-three had been convicted of drink driving around eight years ago and a ban would likely mean his plumbing business would have to fold.

“He is a self-employed plumber and his job is at risk,” said probation officer Tina Williams.

However, she said he has already made progress in finding other work.

The court heard how Oakley is in substantial debt after buying his van and works as many hours as he can, including weekends, to alleviate his financial troubles.

“His relationship is quite strained, and he was at the pub that night after an argument with his partner,” added Mrs Williams.

Mr Steward said: “He probably has some bridges to build to do with the effects on his family.”

For a second drink driving offence during a 10-year period, the minimum penalty is a three-year disqualification and depending on how recent the previous conviction, the court can impose a prison sentence.

Mrs Richards, chair of the bench, said: “We are not going to send you to custody today. We are going to impose a curfew. It will restrict your liberty.”

The electronically monitored curfew is in place between 8pm and 6am for eight weeks, which will run alongside a community order for the same amount of time.

Oakley was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85 and court costs of £135.

“I apologise for what I have done, to everyone here,” he said.