Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 13:14 GMT

Shaky gets two-year driving ban

The singer looked visibly shocked at his punishment

Pop singer Shakin' Stevens has been banned from driving for two years after he admitted to driving while over the limit in the early hours of New Year's Day. The Cardiff-born singer, who had 38 hit singles in the 80s and early 90s, was arrested by Gloucestershire Police at 0245 GMT on 1 January and charged after being held in custody for several hours. The singer was arrested in the Forest of Dean

'Shaky' - charged under his real name of Michael Barratt - was also fined £400 by Coleford magistrates and ordered to pay £30 costs. The court heard that the 53-year-old singer had spent New Year's Eve with friends in the Gloucestershire village of Clearwell. But after a pre-booked taxi failed to turn up and in sub-zero temperatures he decided to drive the short distance to where he was staying. But two police officers spotted him driving slowly and weaving from side to side. Sheila Bowden, prosecuting, said: "The vehicle was being driven slowly and was weaving across the road when two officers stopped to ensure the driver's welfare.

" He elected to drive his vehicle back to where he was staying, during the course of that he was stopped by the police and apprehended

John Wickstead, defending

The singer was breath-tested on the roadside but when the sample of breath was "insufficient to register" a subsequent test was carried out at a police station. There, he was found to have 83 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit of 35mgs. John Wickstead, defending, told the court: "His understanding was that a taxi had been provided for his return as there had been for other people.

'Unwanted mail'

"However on New Year's Eve there is a proliferation of need for taxis in that area. He elected to drive his vehicle back to where he was staying, during the course of that he was stopped by the police and apprehended." Magistrates head that the singer had been fully cop-operative with police officers and had since attended the Gloucestershire Drug and Advisory Service. An order was also made to withhold Stevens' address after his solicitor told the court that he had received "unwanted mail" since news of his arrest first broke. Born in Cardiff's Ely area in March 1948, Shaky became one of Wales's top pop exports in the 1980s, racking up four number ones and a dozen hit albums. One of his finest moments was the oft-repeated seasonal tune Merry Christmas Everyone. In 1999, he resurrected his career to undertake a tour of the US and Europe before performing at a concert to mark the inception of the Welsh Assembly in May that year. At the dawn of the new millennium, he headlined an open-air concert in his home city, performing live to an audience of over 100,000 people.