YORK magistrates decided not to lock up a drink driver because he’s getting help from the Army.

They heard that soldier Keaton Joseph Sellars, 27, was three and a half times the alcohol limit when police stopped him on the A19 near Barlby.

Duty solicitor Steve Munro said Sellars would be kicked out of the Army if he was jailed or given more than 100 hours’ unpaid work as his punishment and Sellars’ staff sergeant gave evidence supporting the claim.

Magistrates ordered Sellars to do a 12-month community order with 99 hours’ unpaid work.

“We have taken into account all the circumstances and the fact you are getting assistance from the Army.

“Without that you would have been looking at a custodial sentence,” they told him.

Sellars, of Dane Avenue, Thorpe Willoughby, pleaded guilty to drink driving.

He was banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £90 statutory surcharge in addition to the community order.

The court heard he will face an Army disciplinary hearing for bringing the Army into disrepute.

Phil Morris, prosecuting, said Sellars gave a breath test with a reading of 129 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Mr Munro said: “He has a unique position in our society serving the country.

“(If sent to prison) he will lose rather more than someone in a civilian occupation. He will lose not only his job, but his accommodation, his pension rights and his status in society.”

On September 21, Sellars had argued with his girlfriend over the phone, then decided to drive round to her home to make it up.

“He has thrown his career away due to a stupid decision he made on that day,” said Mr Munro. “He is very remorseful.”

A probation report to the court said Sellars was struggling with depression for which he was getting medication, and the Army was helping Sellars tackle his excessive drinking.