‘Downton Abbey’ star Brendan Coyle has been banned from driving for over four years, after he was discovered to be nearly three times the drink-drive limit when he was pulled over by police in Norfolk on New Year’s Day.

A court heard how Coyle, 52, who plays the loyal Mr Bates in the successful ITV series which concluded in December, was arrested after being followed by police when he was spotted driving erratically on the A149 near King’s Lynn on January 1st. Given a breathalyser test, he was found to have 98mcg in 100ml of breath (the legal limit is 35mcg).

Appearing during the hearing under his real name, David Coyle, he was given a 50 month ban from driving and ordered to 100 hours of unpaid work, as well as 15 days rehabilitation activity and told to pay £85 costs, plus a £60 victim surcharge.

Brendan CoyleBrendan Coyle was arrested for being three times over the drink-drive limit on New Year's Day

Furthermore, the court heard about Coyle’s “significant” alcohol problem, for which he had spent the entire month of December in a rehab facility in Thailand receiving treatment. It was on the flight home to Britain from that period of rehab that Coyle drunk a sizeable amount, and was still inebriated as he drove his convertible BMW back home.

Defending Coyle, Stephen Dyble told the court: “I can't say it [the rehab] was a success as the commission of the offence clearly shows it wasn't and failed. As was made plain to the arresting officer, the flight home was quite lively… …For a few weeks those who were privileged to know Mr Coyle were very concerned about his well-being in general.”

Probation officer Sharon Cooper told the court that Coyle has regarded himself as a recovering alcoholic for the last five years, and had felt that he was okay to drive that evening.

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