A DRINK driver who tried to blame his actions on an imaginary friend has been disqualified for four years.

Stephen Slark also received a suspended prison sentence

after he was caught over the limit in Hove.

Sussex Police have released a transcript of the arrest.

At about 11.30pm on Saturday, December 23, plain clothed police spotted a man – later identified as Slark, 40, a scrap metal dealer, of Butts Road, Southwick – walking towards a commercial van in Goldstone Villas, close to Hove Station.

He was then seen to drive the vehicle a short distance before he stopped by the entrance to the Post Office, where he got out and met a woman. The transcript said:

Slark: “I haven’t been driving, it was my mate.”

Police: “What’s your mate’s name?”

Slark: “John, he ran down there and jumped over the fence” [pointing to a fence at least 12ft high].

Police: “Look, we saw you get into the van and drive it from the railway station.”

Slark: “I wasn’t driving, you can ask her” [pointing to his female friend]. It was John who was driving my van, wasn’t it?”

Woman: “Who’s John?”

Slark: “John Smith.”

Woman: “I’ve never heard of him.”

At Lewes Crown Court on April 20, Slark was sentenced to three months, suspended for 18 months, and disqualified from driving.