A Stowmarket man who was more than four times the legal limit for alcohol when caught with the keys in the ignition of his car has been banned from driving.

Jeffrey Abney, 61, was seen trying to get out of his Toyota car but appeared drunk and dropped a bag of shopping, which contained cans of alcohol, onto the floor outside the vehicle in Thirlmere Drive, Stowmarket, on May 22 this year.

Police were called and approached the vehicle but there was no initial response from Abney, Colette Harper, prosecuting, told Suffolk Magistrates' Court.

The car's engine was off, so officers then opened the door and removed the keys from the ignition, Ms Harper said.

A roadside breath test was positive, and Abney was taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre, the court heard.

In custody, he blew 146 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg in 100ml of breath.

Abney, of Thirlmere Drive, Stowmarket, was charged with the offence of being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle and pleaded guilty on July 8.

The court heard he had no previous convictions, but did have three penalty points on his driving licence for a speeding offence.

A pre-sentence report was prepared by the Probation Service ahead of Abney's sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

Claire Lockwood, mitigating, said rehabilitation charity Turning Point confirmed Abney was suitable for an alcohol treatment order.

She said Abney is actively seeking employment and has three interviews this week for jobs, but acknowledged a driving ban is going to limit the type of work he can do.

Ms Lockwood added Abney is willing to work with the Probation Service in all of the recommendations made in the "positive" pre-sentence report.

Magistrates handed Abney a 12-month community order, with a six-month alcohol treatment requirement, 80 hours of unpaid work, and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Abney was also banned from the road for 12 months and ordered to pay £105 in court costs, and a victim surcharge of £95.