A SOLICITOR tried to get his wife to lie for him when he was caught drink driving on New Year’s Eve, a court heard.

Garfield Brooks asked his wife to tell police she was driving after he was spotted behaving drunkenly at Tesco in Lewes on Monday.

He was twice the drink-drive limit when police tested him.

Yesterday he was banned from driving and fined £500.

Brooks, of Morris Road, Lewes, has worked for East Sussex County Council’s child protection service since 2009.

On New Year’s Eve the 44-year-old drank five pints of premium lager in the afternoon, before returning home to realise he had forgotten to go shopping.

Brooks took his Citroen Xsara car to Tesco in Brooks Road, Lewes, where he was spotted by an off-duty bus driver who thought he was unsteady on his feet, and decided to call the police.

Officers arrived in Morris Road to see Brooks walking away from his car.

When they spoke to him he said he had not been driving, even though he had the keys in his pocket.

He asked his wife to tell police that she was driving.

When police breathalysed him, he had 93 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Stephen Paley, defending, said Mr Brooks had had serious health problems including heart failure.

He said the family has £30,000 debts, racked up from his own and his daughter’s university fees.

The court was told he feared he might lose his job and be struck off because of his conviction.

Mr Paley said: “He did not set out with the intention of driving a vehicle.

“He is very ashamed of his actions.

“He puts it down to the fact he had drunk too much on New Year’s Eve.”

Brooks was banned from driving for 24 months, but told he can get behind the wheel six months earlier if he completes a rehabilitation course.

He was also fined £500 and ordered to pay £135 costs.

Presiding magistrate Jane Mezzone told him he had made an “awful misjudgement”.

She said: “It is rather a lot of money for a drink on New Year’s Eve.”