A SALES manager was found asleep at the wheel after attending a post-conference drinks event.

Gareth Paul, aged 38, pleaded guilty to drink driving on the M5, near Worcester.

Worcester Magistrates Court heard that Paul decided to drive home due to concerns for his pregnant wife's health.

However, his vehicle broke down on the motorway and police officers found him asleep in the driver's seat, magistrates were told.

Colette Orton, prosecuting, said: "At 6am [January 26] police received a call from Highways of a breakdown on the M5, southbound from Droitwich.

"The driver was acting strangely and staggering. Officers arrived outside the recovery garage and 8.15am and found a male asleep in the driver's side of a Range Rover.

"They said they could smell alcohol on his breath. He confirmed his last drink was at midnight."

The court heard that Paul's Range Rover broke down due to a mechanical fault.

Magistrates were told he had been to a post-conference drinks event and decided to drive home in the early hours of the morning.

Aadhithya Anbahan, defending, handed the magistrates three character references on behalf of Paul.

She said: "This is not a man that frequents the doors of this court.

"He's deeply ashamed that he acted in a manner that requires him to be before your worships today."

The barrister said the senior sales manager was at a work conference in Birmingham on January 25 and had not eaten much food before he attended a drinks event.

She added that he fell asleep in his pre-booked accommodation but woke up at around 5am.

The barrister said the defendant thought the alcohol was out of his system and felt like he should return home, due to concerns about his wife's health.

The court heard that his wife is currently pregnant and has been suffering from nausea and cramping.

Magistrates were also told that Paul, of Portishead, near Bristol, had been sober for the month as he was attempting Dry January.

Worcester Magistrates Court ordered the defendant, who earns £675 a week, to pay a £620 fine, a victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.

It also banned him from driving for 17 months, on February 14.