A WOMAN who was caught driving dangerously in Cumnock and Auchinleck while almost four times the legal alcohol limit was found to have taken the vehicle without permission.

Lea McBride, 25, pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence in Townhead Street and Glaisnock Street in Cumnock and in Auchinleck’s Main Street on September 15 this year. She also admitted taking the vehicle without the owner’s permission, not having insurance and driving dangerously.

Ayr Sheriff Court heard that McBride repeatedly drove the wrong side of the road, then drove onto a footpath and failed to observe a no entry sign before driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

The procurator fiscal depute said: “Police were on routine patrol and were required to attend the area due to a female driving erratically.

“They observed a vehicle going westbound in Cumnock driving at excessive speeds and entering the opposing carriageway travelling towards police. It then passed their vehicle.

“Police turned their vehicle round and indicated to stop and did.

“She was identified as the driver and observed slumped in her seat. Her speech was slurred.

“Police had to assist walking her to the vehicle.”

After failing a roadside breath test she was taken to Kilmarnock police station, where further breath samples were taken and where she was cautioned and charged.

Those samples gave a reading of 82microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath; the legal limit in Scotland is just 22 microgrammes.

Further inquiries revealed the vehicle belonged to another person but that McBride had not had permission to take it.

Defence solicitor John Gallagher said: “She is 25 years old and has no previous convictions.

“She is very aware of the harm she could have caused herself or other.”

Sheriff Siobhan Connolly said: “This is clearly a very serious matter and could have caused significant harm if there was a crash – including a fatality.

“It’s very important this type of offence doesn’t happen again.”

McBride, of Loanhill Avenue, Mauchline, was placed on a community payback order for 12 months and told to ‘fully engage with social workers’.

She was also disqualified from driving for two years and will have to resit an extended test to get her licence back.