A BUS driver from York has been banned from the roads after he was spotted drinking from a bottle of vodka while at the wheel.

Daniel Flannery, 45, of Osbaldwick, was reported to police after he was seen drinking from the bottle at Monks Cross, York Crown Court heard.

Officers tracked his single decker Transdev bus to Hull Road, where he was stopped. Police said that when he opened the doors they were “hit by the strong smell of alcohol”.

He told police he had a couple of drinks that morning and when he was breath tested he was found to be twice the legal limit, with 71mgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The bus had been operational at the time of the incident on the afternoon of January 15, and it was only by chance that no passengers were on board at the time, the court heard.

Sandra White, prosecuting, said: “Fortunately he was carrying no passengers at the time, however this could have been such a different incident.”

Flannery, of Redbarn Drive, pleaded guilty to drink driving. He was disqualified from driving for a year and ten months and ordered to pay a total of £215 in fines and costs.

The court heard Flannery had been a bus driver for 11 years and had worked for Transdev for 18 months. He has lost his job as a result of the incident.

Speaking in mitigation, Harry Bayman said father-of-one Flannery had accepted he had a drink problem and was seeking help from Alcoholics Anonymous.

He said Flannery was also coping with a divorce.

Mr Bayman said: “He has lost his job, quite rightly, as a result of the incident. After today’s hearing he will be looking for employment.

“It’s fortunate no-one came to any harm as a result of this. It’s just by chance no-one happened to be on the bus when the police stepped on.

“He was working and realistically would have had passengers on.”

Speaking after the court hearing, Nigel Eggleton, marketing director for Transdev Blazefield, said: “We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of alcohol and drug abuse. The driver went through our disciplinary process which resulted in his dismissal.

“We want to reassure our customers their safety is paramount and we will not tolerate any activity such as this.”