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JERMAINE PENANCE; Drink-drive soccer star is jailed for 3 months.

Byline: STEPHANIE BUSARI

SOCCER star Jermaine Pennant was jailed for three months yesterday for drink driving while banned from the road.

The pounds 10,000-a-week Arsenal player, on loan at Birmingham City, was stopped in a car park driving a pounds 70,000 Mercedes 500SL with a lamppost dragging beneath it.

His eyes were glazed and his speech slurred. He was two and a half times above the legal limit.

Magistrates' chairman John Jakobi said only a prison sentence was justified because Pennant had been caught drink driving while already banned.

"There was no reasonable excuse for carrying out the journey," he added.

Wearing a dark suit with white shirt and a tie, Pennant nodded as his sentence was passed at Aylesbury, Bucks. Mr Jakobi told him only his guilty plea had spared him a longer sentence.

Nottingham-born Pennant, 22, from Barnett, North London, admitted drink driving, and driving while disqualified with no insurance, last month. The court heard he had had four glasses of wine at a bar in London and then arranged to see his girlfriend in Bristol.

The Mercedes' satellite navigation directed him to go via Aylesbury where he crashed into the lamp post while trying to work the system.

A breath test showed the former England Under-21 star had 85mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Pennant was first banned for driving in the wrong lane in Paddington, West London, in February last year.

Birmingham City chief executive Karren Brady said: "Jermaine is a talented young person and we will help and support him on his release."

-PORTSMOUTH defender David Unsworth has been charged with drink driving after being stopped near his home in Whiteley, Hants.

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IN ACTION: Pennant; SHAMED: Pennant at court yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 2, 2005
Words:295
Previous Article:FANS IN KNIGHT FEVER.
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