A RETIRED plumber had been four times the alcohol limit and had an open bottle of wine in a cup holder when his van drove erratically on the A5 near Llangollen, a court heard on Wednesday.

Keith Grimley, 70, of Green Lane, Halton, Chirk, couldn’t remember what happened, magistrates at Llandudno were told. He received a twelve weeks suspended jail term and three-year ban and must pay £200 costs.

The pensioner admitted driving a Ford Transit on February 8 with a blood-alcohol count of 321. The legal limit is 80.

Court chairwoman Hilary Owen told him: "This was an extremely serious offence. It happened during the day time. There was evidence of impaired driving, your van was veering back and forth and narrowly missed a lorry. Your van veered off the road and this caused a member of the public to stop.

“There was an extremely high reading.”

Prosecutor James Neary said a man was driving towards Corwen when he saw the van hit the kerb and nearly hit a wall. It eventually pulled into a farm entrance and just missed a telegraph pole. Police were alerted.

Emma Simoes, defending, said it was the first time Grimley, who’d suffered family tragedy, had appeared in court. He was ashamed. Grimley had been to his doctor and referred himself for counselling. “Finally he’s been able to seek the help he needs,” she added.

A probation officer said the grandfather accepted he had been a “fool.”