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Last Updated: Friday, 20 February, 2004, 12:32 GMT
Leeds player banned from driving
Jermaine Pennant
Pennant has put in some good performances for Leeds
Leeds winger Jermaine Pennant has been banned from driving for 16 months and fined 1,200 for drink-driving.

The 21-year-old star was spotted by police driving in the wrong lane of the A40 in the Paddington area of west London at 0410 GMT on 13 February.

Pennant, from Enfield, pleaded guilty to one charge of driving over the legal alcohol limit during the hearing at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court.

The midfielder, who is on loan from Arsenal, must also pay 55 costs.

Philip Lemoine, prosecuting, told the court police stopped Pennant in his silver Mercedes after spotting it travelling in the incorrect lane.

A roadside breath sample revealed a reading of 64 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath.

Car 'important'

The court heard that Pennant already had three points on his licence for speeding and a further six for driving without insurance at the age of 19.

Tristan Chaize, defending, said "He (Pennant) had been at a nightclub, and was returning to a hotel, the Hilton in Paddington."

He added that Pennant made an unlawful U-turn and momentarily went the wrong way because he was not familiar with the area.

"He effectively works in Leeds, but he has to visit London relatively frequently because he has a London agent, has meetings, sponsorship appearances, and advertising."

Mr Chaize added that a car was therefore, important to the footballer.

Arsenal paid Notts County 2m for Pennant in 1999, making him one of the most expensive teenagers at the time.

He has made some promising performances for Leeds, who are currently fighting relegation as well as trying to find a buyer so they can stay out of administration.




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