A MULTI-MILLION selling songwriter has been banned from driving for two years after being caught nearly three times the drink-drive limit.

Tim Rice-Oxley, 38, keyboard player and songwriter for soft rock band Keane, based in Battle, was stopped by police on the A27 at Berwick in April 11.

The musician, who was driving a Landrover Freelander, was arrested after a roadside breath test revealed 101 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his breath.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

He was charged with drink driving and pleaded guilty at Hastings Magistrates Court on July 9.

Multimillionaire Rice-Oxley, of Milton Street, Polegate, was fined £750, ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £75.

He was banned from the roads for 24 months – reduced by 24 weeks if he successfully completes a driving course.

Representatives for the musician declined to comment when contacted by The Argus.

But police said it was “totally unacceptable” to risk the lives of others by getting behind the wheel after having a drink.

Superintendent Jane Derrick said: “We are catching people of all ages, of both sexes and of a range of backgrounds and occupations who think it is ok to risk their lives and the lives of other road users by having a drink and then getting behind the wheel.

“It is totally unacceptable to drink and drive. As far as we are concerned, one drink is one drink too many."

Privately educated Rice-Oxley founded Keane with fellow Vinehall School pupil Tom Chaplin.

He was invited to join Coldplay by Chris Martin in 1997 but declined, going on to sell more than 10 million albums with Keane.

The Everybody’s Changing writer won an Ivor Novello Award for songwriter of the year in 2005.

He has written songs for Gary Barlow and Lily Allen. 

Rice-Oxley has a recording studio at his rural home near Alfriston and has cited the Sussex countryside and growing up in Battle as an influence on Keane.

The band’s lead singer Tom Chaplin had his own brush with controversy in 2006 after going to rehab for drug and drink abuse problems.