Coronation Street star Susan Cleaver banned for drink-driving

Coronation Street star Susan Cleaver told a court today that she was "highly ashamed" as she was banned from the road for 17 months after drink-driving.

The actress, who plays taxi firm worker Eileen Grimshaw in the ITV1 soap, was nearly twice the legal limit when she hit a kerb in the early hours of the morning.

Magistrates in Manchester heard that her "spur-of-the-moment decision" to drive at night "could not have been more out of character" as she pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

Cleaver, 46, was driving a Land Rover Freelander in Palatine Road, Northenden, when she was pulled over less than a mile from her home on March 29.

Kerry Bell, prosecuting, said she was stopped by police at 1.40am when her vehicle collided with the nearside kerb.

She was breathalysed at the scene and gave a positive alcohol breath reading. She was taken to the police station and gave a further reading of 63mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath - the legal limit being 35mg.

Richard Silver, defending, said: "Miss Cleaver has entered a guilty plea at the first possible moment.

"She is highly ashamed and deeply embarrassed to find herself before the court today and she wants to apologise for what she has done.

"She has expressed her remorse many times to me in our conversations and she has demonstrated her remorse by fully co-operating with the police.

"She does not seek to contest the prosecution case and does not seek to excuse her actions."

He added: "This could not have been more out of character. Although she has been driving for more than 20 years, she has never had points.

"She is normally a highly responsible driver and this offence is quite truly out of character.

"She had not intended to drive that night and deeply regrets her spur-of-the-moment decision to do so."

References from her employers and a charity she supports were handed to magistrates.

"You will see from those references the sort of person we are dealing with," said Mr Silver.

Chair of the Bench, the Rev Andrew Braunston, told Cleaver: "We recognise you have had a clean licence for 20 years, you have had a good character, you have co-operated with the police and your early guilty plea.

"However, this is a serious offence and you were verging on being twice the limit."

A 17-month driving ban was imposed which will be reduced to 13 months after she completes a drink-drive awareness course which she was offered by the Bench.

Cleaver, of The Circuit, Didsbury, was also fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

She made no comment as she left Manchester Magistrates' Court

She joined Coronation Street in 2000 and plays a taxi controller and the mother of Jason and Todd Grimshaw.

Her screen son, Jason, played by Ryan Thomas, appeared at the same court on Monday when he was fined £2,020 after crashing his car and leaving the scene of the accident.