Ex-Premier League striker given driving ban after crashing Land Rover into shop

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An ex-Premier League striker who admitted being almost three times the drink-drive limit when he crashed his Land Rover through a shop doorway has been banned from driving for two years.

Former Middlesbrough, Watford, Swansea, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers forward Danny Graham mounted the pavement and drove through the front of the Co-op Village Store, on the exclusive Wynyard estate in Teesside where he lives, on November 4 2022.

After he was arrested, tests at hospital showed he had a reading of no less than 230mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

Graham, 37, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court where he admitted a single charge of drink-driving.

He was disqualified from driving for two years, given a 12-month community order in which he must carry out 180 hours unpaid work and given a 90-day alcohol ban, monitored by a tag.

He said the alcohol monitoring tag would detect even if Graham had a “small glass of sherry”.

The court was shown CCTV from inside the shop which showed the Land Rover smash through the doors, an airbag deploy in the vehicle and the car collide into shelves.

A staff member could then be seen approaching the vehicle.

Graham was arrested at a nearby house and it was not suggested he had fled the scene.

A probation report said the married father-of-three had been drinking with a friend after playing golf.

He thought he had drunk between “five and 10 pints” and rated his intoxication as eight or nine out of 10.

The probation report stated he had intended to get a taxi home, did not know why he drove and cannot remember the smash, “either due to the trauma of the crash or his level of intoxication”.

Now a self-employed sports consultant who advises young players on their performance, Graham was said to have cut down on his drinking since the crash and does not drink at home.

Earlier, Michael Lawson, prosecuting, said: “Luckily, no-one was injured as a result of this collision.”

Mr Lawson said the shop was extensively damaged and had to close for five days.

Stock worth more than £5,000 was damaged and the total loss was estimated to be £32,000, magistrates were told.

Mr Lawson said Graham mounted the pavement and the car went into the shop by accident.

Choi Cheng, defending, said: “Mr Graham is very apologetic and deeply remorseful for this offence.”

He said Graham had never been arrested before, was of previous good character and Mr Cheng handed over what he said was “a most impressive set of character references” to magistrates.

Mr Cheng said: “Mr Graham, due to this unwise incident, experienced many things which he would never, ever, want to experience again.

“The offence dates back to November and he has had this worry hanging over his head for five months.”

If Graham completes a driver rehabilitation course he will have his driving ban reduced by three months.

He must also pay costs and a surcharge totalling £199.

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