A MEDICAL supplies delivery driver has avoided a ban despite failing a roadside breath test and refusing to provide further samples after being found in his car with the engine running.

Mark Heffernan, 41, was parked in Pitchcroft car park near Worcester Police Station after a night out and told officers he was sleeping to avoid driving home drunk.

The former army serviceman, who now delivers palliative care equipment and medication to relieve the suffering of terminal patients, was allowed to keep his licence when appearing before magistrates on Thursday.

The defendant refused to undertake the two required further breath samples at the police station and accepted the charge of failure to provide a specimen.

Mrs Sue Roberts, chair of the bench, said: “Exceptional hardship would be caused to the patients under your care if you were to lose your employment.”

The court heard how Heffernan, of Stretton Road, Kidderminster, is one of only two people who each drive around 700 miles a month to deliver the service.

Lesley Ashton, prosecuting, said the defendant was found in his car at 5.40am on March 30 by officers.

She said Heffernan initially refused to give his name and date of birth and claimed he was asleep, before providing a positive breath sample.

Mr McQuian, defending, said: “He was parked next to the police station and had no intention of driving.”

The solicitor said his client “had a breath kit with him to check himself before he set off” – planning to drive home at 7am.

He said the defendant had switched on the engine to allow the car to heat up and had then fallen asleep under a blanket.

“He did not understand what the issue was. He was just ignorant of the law,” said Mr McQuian.

The court heard how Heffernan had served in the army for 19 years, which included tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan, before being medically discharged with PTSD.

Mr McQuian said Heffernan visits his three daughters from a previous relationship in Teesside each weekend, with a driving ban meaning he would be unable to see them.

He said he also has a two-year-old child with his current partner, who he drives to his grandmother’s house each day, before work.

Mr McQuian argued that his client, who has learning difficulties, had made good progress in getting a handle on his PTSD, with the ban meaning he could easily slip backwards and would certainly lose his job.

Heffernan’s licence was endorsed with 10 points, already carrying three, and he was ordered to pay a total of £426 in fines and costs.

Mrs Roberts added: “You cannot use the same excuse for another three years.”