Homes under the Hammer presenter claims he was unable to give drink driving test due to asthma

Telegraph Reporters
Martin Roberts attempted to avoid a drink driving conviction by claiming his asthma stopped him from giving a breath sample - PA

Homes Under The Hammer presenter Martin Roberts attempted to avoid a drink driving conviction by claiming his asthma stopped him from giving a breath sample. 

The 56-year-old, who has failed to get his conviction overturned, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol last year, after failing to provide a breath test.

But Roberts insists this is because of his chronic asthma, and said that he tried several times to provide a sample of breath.

He denied failing to provide a specimen of breath but in March Bath Magistrates convicted him, fining him £3,461 and banning him from driving for 23 months.

Police accused him of sucking rather than blowing and, after only one successful test which showed him to be almost twice over the limit, they charged him with failing to provide a specimen of breath.

Roberts maintains the reading could have been contaminated by his asthma inhaler.

He appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, where he failed to have the conviction and sentence overturned.

The recorder Mr Noel Casey, who heard the appeal with two magistrates, dismissed the appeal against conviction, retained the sentence and imposed £520 costs.

Martin Roberts with co-presenter Lucy Alexander

Mr Casey told Roberts: "We accept the appellant suffers from asthma but not to an extent much greater than many other sufferers."

Speaking outside the courtroom, Roberts said: "This is a bad day for me. But it is also a terrible day for asthma sufferers.

"How can it be fair that someone that has a lifelong history of asthma, that declares that asthma to police, is only offered a breathalyser test that involves exhaling effectively - and is not offered any alternative way of providing a sample - such as giving blood or urine?"

Mr Roberts stressed his doctor said it was very likely he would not have been able to provide the required breath test.

He said: "My failure to provide a sample was for genuine medical reasons. I would have happily provided a blood or urine sample but was never offered the opportunity to do so.

"I believe the law needs to be changed to protect other asthma sufferers like myself from being prejudiced against in this grossly unfair way, by making it mandatory that they are offered an alternative way of providing a sample.

"This matter has caused me and my family unbelievable stress and worry and I am now being faced with a 23 month driving ban and a big fine - equivalent to being ten times over the limit and crashing into a street full of parked vehicles.

"Yet I wasn't even in my car, or anywhere near it, when I was stopped by police."

Nicholas Lee, prosecuting, said the saga unfolded after security man Paul Sharp spotted Roberts at 2.08am in Bath.

Mr Sharp thought Roberts looked a "little unsteady" and tracked him on CCTV.

The court was shown footage of how Roberts walked to his Volvo, leaned on the boot and then drove off.

As he reversed he nudged another car and headed for the exit.

Such was Mr Sharp's concern that he locked the automatic barrier, preventing Roberts from exiting the car park, and he called police.

Police sergeant Andrew Mundy told the court he arrested Roberts on foot in Manvers Street.

The officer said: "I invited him to the police vehicle for a sample of breath.

"He was slurring his words, speaking in a repetitive manner and you could smell alcohol."