A driver almost fell out of his vehicle when police opened the door of a car parked partly on a pavement.

There was an overwhelming smell of alcohol from the vehicle, a court was told.

The driver, Matthew Harold Brown, told police he would not provide a breath test.

He was argumentative and did not do so either at the roadside or at the police station, Flintshire Magistrates Court was told yesterday.

Brown, 33, of Park Way in Saughall, admitted failing to provide a breath specimen following his arrest on Holywell Road in Ewloe, Deeside, on August 24.

Brown, who had previous convictions for drink-driving in 2006 and 2012, admitted failing to provide a breath test and was banned from driving for four years.

He received a four-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Magistrates ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £115 surcharge and said they would not offer him a drink-drivers’ rehabilitation course which would reduce his ban by a quarter. It had not worked previously, they said.

Prosecutor Sheyanne Lee said that police were on Holywell Road in Ewloe on another matter at 11.25pmand saw Brown’s car approach with no lights.

It mounted a pavement and came to a stop.

An officer approached intending to advise him about the lights, but as he got closer saw that Brown was slumped behind the wheel.

He looked very sleepy and had an injury to his forehead.

Fearing that Brown had fallen ill, the officer opened the door and immediately detected an overwhelming smell of liquor, Ms Lee explained.

The officer tried to engage with him, but he was unresponsive and nearly fell out of the vehicle.

At the police station Brown was emotional, unsteady on his feet, his eyes were glazed and he was argumentative.

Defence solicitor Mark Shanks said his client was not a dependent drinker, but he did use alcohol to cope at times of stress.

He and his partner had an 18-month-old son who needed regular hospital appointments and that caused a huge amount of stress.

That day he returned from work, there had been an argument, he removed himself, but began drinking in the car.

He had not intended to drive, but after five or six drinks he foolishly decided to do so.

Brown, the Mold court heard, was self-employed and travelled the country installing playground equipment for local authorities and others.

A driving ban would cause great inconvenience, but it was hoped he could continue working if one of his colleagues could drive.

But Mr Shanks said that an immediate custodial sentence would have a catastrophic effect on Brown and his family.