A YOUNG mechanic caught drink-driving in a McDonald’s car park after a tip-off from one of the restaurant’s employees has been handed a driving ban.

Michael Witcher, 18, was found to be almost double the drink-drive limit when he was arrested by police outside the Tollbar Way outlet.

Witcher, a mechanical apprentice, pleaded guilty to the charge at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

The prosecution, represented by Louise Holmes, said the restaurant’s staff suspected Witcher had been drinking while in the drive-thru.

A staff member subsequently called the police, who arrived quickly and approached Witcher, who was sat in his vehicle in the restaurant’s car park.

Mrs Holmes said officers reported Witcher was unsteady on his feet and smelt of alcohol.

Defending the teenager, Charlotte Mcleod said her client had consumed a “few drinks” with friends before driving to McDonald’s.

She said he accepted his actions on August 25 were “stupid and he knows it”.

However, Mrs Mcleod pleaded with the bench to give Witcher the minimum possible driving ban, in the hope he could maintain his apprenticeship.

Mrs Mcleod said part of the teenager’s role as a mechanic was to test drive cars and occasionally pick up clients in broken down vehicles.

Reading a statement from Witcher’s manager, Mrs Mcleod said that a ban longer than 12 months would put his job at risk.

She added that he was of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

The bench agreed to keep Witcher’s driving ban to 14 months.

They also offered him the chance to take a drink-driving rehabilitation course, which, if completed, would reduce his ban by 14 weeks.

Speaking on behalf of the bench, Kevin Jones JP said: “We know the area that you are most interested in is the disqualification.

“We think that it is fair and right to impose a disqualification of 14 months.

“I’m sure you will have learnt your lesson, although it will have been a painful one.

“We wish you the best of luck for your future.”

Alongside the ban, Witcher was also fined £180, ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £35.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: “There is no policy at McDonald’s for employees to report incidents like this.

“If an employee is concerned about a customer’s wellbeing, and the safety of other customers, then it is within their right to report the incident to the police.”