A SELF-employed builder has been banned from driving for three years after refusing a breath test.

James Watton, of Shinehill Lane, South Littleton, near Evesham, was asked to take a breath test by police on the evening of January 27 after he drove into a neighbour’s car.

Kerry Lovegrove, prosecuting, said when police officers asked him to give a sample, he swore at them and refused until a solicitor was present. At the police station, he refused a test a further four times.

He told detectives he had drunk two pints of cider after work and then drove home. He claimed the crash happened when he tried to avoid a cat. He said he drank another five cans of cider at home before police arrived.

Miss Lovegrove said Watton apologised for his behaviour. She said the minimum ban was three years as he had a similar conviction in the last decade.

Watton admitted failing to provide a specimen.

Sabhia Pathan, defending, said her client was remorseful and embarrassed and a ban would affect his ability to carry out his job as a self-employed builder.

She said Watton had offered to pay for the damage and was “deeply regretful” of his actions.

Watton was banned from driving for three years and fined £400, with costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.

Magistrates offered him the option of taking part in a course which, if completed, could reduce his ban by nine months.