Serial St Leonards offender jailed over drink-driving in Battle

Mark Howlett. Photo by Sussex Police SUS-160818-133143001
Mark Howlett. Photo by Sussex Police SUS-160818-133143001

A serial drink-driver from St Leonards caught more than four times over the legal limit in Battle has been jailed.

Mark Howlett also faces a lengthy ban, after being convicted of the offence for the fourth time in 12 years – he was sentenced to 60 days in prison for drink-driving in 2007, as well as being convicted in 2006 and 2004.

The 37-year-old was reported to police by a taxi driver travelling behind his Vauxhall Astra van who was concerned by his erratic driving in Hastings Road at about 5.33pm on June 28.

Howlett made off from the scene on foot, after the quick-thinking cabbie managed to stop the vehicle and remove his keys from the ignition to stop him from driving further.

However, he was arrested by officers nearby and recorded a roadside breath test reading of 142mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.

While in the back of the police car, he commented: “Why didn’t I catch the train?”

Howlett, unemployed, of Flimwell Close, pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on August 2.

Due to the severity of the reading, the time of day and his previous record, he was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison.

In addition, he was given a 50-month disqualification and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Howlett was convicted as part of Operation Dragonfly, Surrey and Sussex Police’s summer crackdown on drink and drug-driving.

People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug driving.

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