A MERRIOTT man who was suspected to have been drinking when police pulled him over behind the wheel of his Landrover claimed he could not do a breath test because he had the flu.

Andrew Leigh Sherred attempted to take a test at the roadside three times after being stopped driving but told the officers he was “probably over the limit”.

After he was arrested he was taken to Bridgwater police centre where he tried repeatedly to take another test and when asked if there was a medical reason for his failure he said he had the flu.

Sherred, 55, of Moorlands Road, pleaded guilty that when suspected of having driven a vehicle and being required to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, he failed to do so.

He also admitted using the vehicle without insurance at Lopen on January 13 when he appeared before Somerset Magistrates at Yeovil.

Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, said the police received a reports that a Landrover Discovery was being driven in a “concerning manner” at Lopen around 9.30pm.

“The witness said they believed the driver may be drunk and officers soon located the vehicle in the village and pulled it over,” she said.

“The defendant was the driver and the police could smell alcohol when they spoke to him and asked him to do a roadside breath test and he said he was probably over the limit.

“He attempted three times to do the test without success so he was arrested and taken to the police station.”

While there he made a number of other attempts to provide the required breath specimens without success and when asked if there were any medical reasons he said he had the flu.

He was informed by a nurse that that was not a medical reason and he was then charged with the offence and also found to have no insurance.

Defending himself, Sherred said that on the night in question he had gone out with a friend for a drink and had a very bad case of the flu.

He told his friend he would wait in the car at 5.30pm and then fell asleep, woke up four hours later and the made the decision to drive home.

“In hindsight I should not have done it and in terms of providing a sample I did try very hard, but every time I got a tickle in my throat and had to stop to cough,” he said.

He added that he did not realise he was not insured to drive the car but later discovered he only had a commercial vehicle policy.

The magistrates banned Sherred from driving for 17 months and fined him £369 with £85 costs and a £36 victim surcharge.