A PREMIER League footballer has been banned from the roads after he was caught behind wheel at almost twice the legal limit.
Burnley Midfielder Dale Stephens, 32, was pulled over in his £40k Range Rover Sport after going for dinner and ‘having a few beers’.
The £15,000-a-week player was stopped in Cheshire’s poshest village by police during a routine check as cops investigated a string of luxury car thefts.
Officers are understood to have first let Stephens go but then noticed a smell of alcohol.
A roadside breath test showed the Premier League star was almost twice the drink drive limit, Stockport Magistrates heard.
Nick Smart, prosecuting said: ”The officers noticed it was a Range Rover as within the last couple of days there had been similar vehicles taken.
READ MORE SUN STORIES
“They did a stop and when an officer spoke to the driver he noticed there was a smell of intoxicants coming from the vehicle so they decided to breathalyse him.
“The driver said he had had a pint during the day.
Most read in The Sun
“They did a road-side test which was positive, so this gentleman was arrested.”
Tests showed Stephens had 59 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35mg.
He had a passenger in the car when he was stopped on March 15.
JPs heard Stephens had no previous convictions and a clean driving licence.
Midfielder Dale Stephens joined Burnley from Brighton in September 2020 for an undisclosed fee and has only made nine appearances for the Clarets.
Read More on The Sun
Stephens admitted drink driving and was disqualified for 12 months for drink driving on March 15 this year.
He was also fined £3,334 and ordered to pay £275 in costs and surcharges.
In mitigation defence lawyer Philip Worrall said: “Mr Stephens is an athlete, playing for Burnley.
“You’ve heard the expression clean living and he follows that regime for obvious reasons.
“He had been for a meal that day and had a few beers.
”Although the location was only two miles away, he decided to take his car as he was running late.
“There was no evidence of erratic driving.
“The police stopped the vehicle because there had been a spate of thefts of that particular type of vehicle.”
He could have killed someone
After the case the footballer was blasted by prosecutors who said he could have killed someone.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Simon McDonnell said: “Dale Stephens is a premier league footballer and is no doubt looked up to by many football fans and could be considered a role model.
“Unfortunately he chose to get behind the wheel of a car after he had been drinking more than he is legally allowed to and drive.
“The fact that there were not more serious consequences from his actions is sheer luck.
“He could have injured or killed someone.
“He also has a passenger in the car at the time.
“Drinking, even to the legal limit, impairs the driver’s ability to perform and react and is inadvisable.
“To get behind the wheel of a powerful car when you have drunk more than the legal limit is reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous.
“Mr Stephens may have a glamorous job, but no-one is above the law and he is now facing the consequences of what he chose to do on that night.”