Chris Tarrant caught drink driving after neighbours who saw him in pub called police following planning row

Francesca Marshall
Chris Tarrant pleaded guilty to drink-driving - London News Pictures Ltd

TV presenter Chris Tarrant was caught drink driving after neighbours reported him to the police less than 18 months after falling out with the radio host over building plans.

The 71-year-old has been banned from driving for 12 months and charged £6,000 after he admitted to being over the limit while behind the wheel of his Mercedes on December 16.

The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire presenter had spent an hour-and-a-half in the Bladebone public house near his home in Bucklebury, West Berkshire, where he was served four brandy and ports before getting into his car.

A neighbour reportedly put in a call to the authorities after seeing him stumble at the bar before driving home. The incident adds to an already tense relationship with local residents after he lodged planning proposals to extend his £2 million home.

Villagers labelled the celebrity “greedy” and said he had been fortunate to get planning permission previously.

Tarrant said he was 'very sorry' Credit:  Ben Cawthra/London News Pictures Ltd

Reading Magistrate’s Court heard Tarrant's breathalyser reading was 50 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35 microgrammes.

Hasrat Ali, prosecuting, told the court: "On December 16 Mr Tarrant has been drinking at the Bladebone Public House in Chapel Row, near Bucklebury, Reading, from 12.30pm onwards where he was served four brandy and ports at the bar. He left at 2pm.

"Staff and other members of the public within the public house were concerned he had made the decision to drive home. One member of the public had noticed Mr Tarrant had stumbled near the bar area.

"Police attended his home at 2.25pm, 13 minutes after being called.

When he was interviewed by officers he gave a different version of events

Hasrat Ali, prosecuting

"Those that attended spoke to Mr Tarrant who commented that he had just drunk three glasses of wine on arrival at his home address. He was asked to sign the pocket notebook to that affect but he refused.

"When he was interviewed by officers he gave a different version of events, stating he had drunk one brandy and one glass of wine at home."

The TV presenter has previously upset his neighbours over planning proposals Credit:  Steve Parsons/PA

As he left court Tarrant said: "I made a mistake and I paid for it. I shouldn't have driven. Full stop."

Tarrant said he is "very sorry", and that he drank "just enough to be over", adding: "I honestly didn't think I was over, but apparently I was, so fair enough."

Asked if he thought the punishment was fair, he said: "Yes." 

Tarrant received an OBE in 2004 Credit:  IAN JONES

Tarrant lodged fresh planning proposals in 2016 to add a two-storey extension - including an extra two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a utility room and a snug - to his property, despite already completing work on a number of occasions. 

Villagers said the plans would go against regulations, which state that buildings should not be developed to beyond 50 per cent over their original footprint and accused the council of cherry picking in the TV presenter’s favour. 

Tarrant, who bought the house for £1.02 million in 2004, is believed to live at the house with his partner, legal secretary Jane Bird. The Duchess of Cambridge was also brought up in the area.