A LAND agent and farmer in Bentham has been banned from driving for 18 months after admitting being more than twice over the alcohol limit.

John Christopher Prickett, 54, a land agent to several farmers in the Bentham area, as well as a hill farmer himself, was stopped by police on April 18 following a tip off, heard Skipton Magistrates Court.

Prickett, who had been drinking at an auction mart bar, was stopped in Greystonegill Lane and told police he had drunk two pints. A roadside test was unsuccessful and he was taken to the police station where a test showed he had 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit is 35.

Prickett, who admitted drink-driving, had like many farmers had a difficult winter and had lost a 'significant' number of lambs because of the bad weather, the court heard in mitigation.

He had stayed drinking longer than he should have done in the auction mart bar, had accepted he would be banned from driving, but the loss of his licence would have a severe impact, as his farm was bi-sected by a public highway.

Prickett, of Gruskham to Gill Beck, High Bentham, was banned from driving for 18 months and fined £462. He will also have to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £46. If he completes a drink drivers rehabilitation course, his ban will be reduced by 18 weeks.