A RETIRED bus driver was three times over the legal alcohol driving limit when he crashed his car on the way to chapel, a court heard.

Dennis Meredith, of Burkitt Street, Rhostyllen, was banned from driving for two years after admitting the drink driving offence which occurred on the evening of July 1.

Wrexham Magistrates Court heard Meredith, 71, who was driving a Citroen Picasso, crashed into a fence on Berse Road, Wrexham, and was subsequently found to have 250 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 milligrammes.

Wyn Jones, prosecuting, said Meredith told police he did not believe he was over the legal alcohol limit.

Stephen Edwards, defending, said Meredith is an active member of Brymbo Methodist Chapel and on the night in question was driving to the chapel to prepare it for a coffee morning the next day.

Mr Edwards said his client had been drinking at home and had forgotten about the coffee morning before remembering it and driving to go to the chapel, believing he was below the drink-driving limit.

The court heard Meredith had been a bus driver for several decades. He had a clean licence and had never been before a court before.

“He’s thoroughly ashamed and that shame and sense of guilt is most genuine,” said Mr Edwards.

A letter was read by Mr Edwards on behalf of the grandfather-of-two, in which he conveyed how he was “utterly mortified and ashamed” to be appearing in court on a drink driving charge.

Meredith’s ban will be reduced by six months if he undertakes a drink driving awareness course by November, 2012.

Meredith was also fined £150 and was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.