AN alcoholic denied drinking wine ahead of a court appearance at which she was warned she faced jail despite 'smelling of alcohol'.

Police were called to Park Road in Barrow on the morning of January 28 after Lorna Griffin's Fiat 500 was found blocking both lanes. Officers 'noticed a strong smell of alcohol'.

At South Cumbria Magistrates' Court yesterday prosecutor Pamela Fee said: "The roadside breath test was 130 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

"She was arrested and provided two further samples the lowest of which was 139 microgrammes."

The legal limit is 35 microgrammes. The court heard it was likely Griffin had been drinking that morning, and not the night before as she claimed, because the alcohol reading had gone up since her arrest.

Defence solicitor Maureen Fawcett said 56-year-old Griffin had moved to her home in Morecambe Crescent in Barrow from the Midlands following the breakdown of her marriage.

"She came to live near her sister but she is very socially isolated in Barrow," the solicitor said.

"She knows with a driving disqualification she will be even more isolated and is aware this crosses the custody threshold."

District Judge Gerald Chalk asked for a stand-down pre-sentence report and warned Griffin: "I am considering a prison sentence."

Debbie Postlethwaite from the Probation Service interviewed Griffin during a brief adjournment.

"She denied drinking on the morning of the offence and was attempting to minimise her culpability even though her reading was higher at the police station than at the roadside so it appears she had been drinking that morning as her reading should have been going down rather than increasing," Miss Postlethwaite said.

"She said she drank two bottles of wine.

"She said she was pulling out onto Park Road in the hope a car would flash her out. She said she's always been a careful driver.

"She does admit that she's dependent on alcohol.

"She moved to Barrow in April 2019 to be closer to her sister but she doesn't know anyone else from the local area.

"She has adult children but has little contact with them.

"She said she had a problem with alcohol 24 years ago and was then convicted of drink-driving but then stopped and had no problems while raising her children."

The court heard Griffin drinks up to four bottles of wine a day between 2pm and 10pm.

"Since her arrest she says she has not drunk any alcohol. I expressed concern I thought she was not being honest as I could smell alcohol on her but she says she doesn't know why this is," the probation officer said.

The judge told Griffin she had put other road-users at significant risk.

"You were not in a fit state to be on the road," he added.

Griffin pleaded guilty to drink-driving. She was banned from driving for 34 months and given a 70-day prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

She must also complete 20 days' rehabilitation, take part in alcohol treatment and abide by a curfew from 8pm until 6am for 10 weeks.

"If you breach it you will be sent to prison," the judge warned.

"I am giving you a chance... grab it with both hands.

"I think it's unlikely the DVLA will give you your licence back given the level of alcohol in your system."

Griffin must also pay £85 costs and a £120 surcharge.