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Soccer star banned for drink-drive accident.

The captain of Port Vale Football Club was yesterday handed a 12-month driving ban and fined pounds 500 for failing to take a police breath test following an accident.

Tommy Widdrington, (29), admitted the offence at a hearing last month after an incident in which a red BMW he was driving hit a set of traffic lights in the early hours of October 25.

Magistrates in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, imposed an interim driving ban but yesterday ordered Widdrington to pay pounds 50 prosecution costs and banned him for a year.

Chairman of the bench, Peter Joy, told the Division Two player that he would have three months taken off the sentence if he attended and successfully-completed a rehabilitation course by June.

Widdrington, of Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, said he agreed to do so.

Steve Ash, for the prosecution, told the court that Widdrington was arrested after officers were called to reports of an accident and found the player still at the scene.

He initially told them he was not the driver but that his friend had 'done a runner'.

Investigations later revealed that Widdrington, originally from Longbenton, Newcastle, was the driver and that he failed to provide a breath test at a police station.

The player then admitted he was the driver and that he had drunk five bottles of Budweiser beer over the course of the evening, Mr Ash said.

David James, defending, asked magistrates not to revoke his client's licence and not to treat him in the same way as a high-profile Premiership footballer.

He said the sportsman needed his licence over Christmas to visit relatives both in the North East and on the south coast where his wife's family live and for furthering his plans for when his playing days were over.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 8, 2000
Words:296
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