‘STUPID’ construction workers on Worcester’s Southern Link Road project had been drinking in the pub when they got behind the wheel, one of them crashing twice.

Gobind Singh, 48, admitted drink-driving while 31-year-old Richard Gravelle, known as Liam, admitted being in charge of a car while above the limit for alcohol. The contractor, Griffiths, and Worcestershire County Council say the men were not working on the SLR project at the time.

Both men appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court on Thursday following separate incidents just hours apart at the car park of the March Hare Inn in Broughton Hackett, near Worcester, on September 12 this year.

The defendants had been employed on a building site nearby as work to fully dual the A4440 Southern Link Road from Junction 7 of the M5 to the Powick Roundabout continues, now in its ‘fourth and final phase’.

Singh was more than three times the limit when he got behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Golf. The reading was 107mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath - the limit is 35mcg.

Gravelle blew 71mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath in an Audi S5.

He had only been convicted of drink-driving in February this year, receiving a 20-month ban.

Mark Hambling, prosecuting, said Singh had consumed lager and Sambuca when he climbed into his Golf at 6.30pm.

“He collided very slightly with a picket fence but then, unfortunately, hit a parked car,” said Mr Hambling.

Members of the public called police and Singh failed the roadside test before the evidential reading was taken back at the station.

Three hours later at 9.30pm officers were flagged down at the same pub and Gravelle also failed the roadside test.

“Mr Gravelle was interviewed and stated he had drunk around six or seven pints of lager” said the prosecutor.

Patrick Kelly, representing both men, said Singh’s daughter was undergoing open heart surgery and he was ‘the main driver of the family and responsible for taking her to hospital appointments’.

“Clearly he’s going to lose his licence and he knows. He made admissions in interview in relation to this matter. He’s fully compliant and co-operative with the procedure.

“He does regret this. This was a stupid thing. He realises how stupid it was. He was working on a building site just along the road from the March Hare,” said Mr Kelly.

Mr Kelly added that it was ‘literally a touch against the parked car’ and that insurance companies had not been involved.

“He’s very, very remorseful. It’s something that will never be repeated” said Mr Kelly.

References were provided by his colleagues on the ‘SLR project’, praising him for his politeness and professionalism.

One of the references came from one of the senior project managers. It is not expected Singh will lose his job but it will cause him difficulties, said Mr Kelly. Hugh Jones, a senior work manager for the project, said Singh drove company vehicles and now would not be able to do that.

Mr Kelly told the court that Gravelle, a father-of-two, handed over his car keys when asked to do so and had been co-operative with police.

“He regrets this. This was stupid - sheer stupidity,” said Mr Kelly.

In relation to Singh magistrates made a 12-month community order with 10 rehabilitation activity days and banned him from driving for 24 months. He was offered the drink drivers rehabilitation course which, if completed successfully, will reduce the length of the ban by 24 weeks.

Singh, of Longwood Rise, Willenhall, was also ordered to pay costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £95.

Gravelle of Parklands Road, Ammanford, Dyfed already had three points on his licence - a further 10 points were added for this offence which made him a totter. He was banned from driving for six months (concurrent to existing 20-month ban), fined £600, ordered to pay a contribution to costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £60.

A spokesman from Griffiths said: “We can confirm that the men were not at work at our SLR site at the time of the incidents. The safety of our team and the wider public is our first priority and the actions displayed are not reflective of the standards and behaviour expected from people who work with us.

“We have a zero tolerance of alcohol or drug use on all our sites and employees are subject to random drug and alcohol tests.”

A spokesperson from Worcestershire County Council said: “We are aware of the convictions and have been assured by our contractor that the incidents did not take place whilst the men were at work.”