A FORMER Sedbergh school worker has been banned from driving for 20 months after taking a school van without consent and driving it uninsured, with no licence and while more than twice the legal alcohol limit.

Garry Donoghue, formerly of Mary Fell, Sedbergh, but now living with friends in the town, pleaded guilty to four offences at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court.

In mitigation Susie Kavanagh said the 27-year-old had been out drinking with colleagues before the incident on December 12.

She said: “He had been at the school for 11-and-a-half years working in the kitchen, and as it was the last day before Christmas everybody decided to go out and celebrate.”

The court heard Donoghue had drunk 11 bottles of lager and a pint of bitter in local pubs before going back to the school, letting himself in, taking the keys to a van and driving to Kendal.

Jane Mackrill, prosecuting, said he was stopped by police at around 11pm on Blackhall Road, Kendal, after the van was seen with no lights on.

She said: “The van stalled in the centre of the road and when officers approached the man they immediately smelled alcohol.

“When he got out he was unsteady on his feet and straight away he told officers that he was sorry and had been really stupid.”

Donoghue was found to have 80 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – 35 microgrammes is the legal limit.

Mrs Kavanagh said he was ‘extremely remorseful’ but could offer no reason for the crimes.

She said: “He does not remember getting into the vehicle and driving it — there was no reason for him to go to Kendal.

“It was completely out of character for him and in terms of drinking a one-off occasion. He is extremely sorry, particularly since his employment at the school was terminated.”

Donoghue was also given a community order which requires 12 months supervision and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.