Wayne Rooney has been banned from driving for two years after pleading guilty to being almost three times over the limit in what he described as a “terrible mistake”.
The former England captain, 31, has also been fined two weeks’ wages by his club, Everton, reported to amount to £300,000.
John Temperley, the district judge at Stockport magistrates court, said he would not impose a fine on the Everton forward and instead banned him from the roads for two years. He also sentenced Rooney to a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work.
“I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this was a serious offence,” Temperley told Rooney. “You were driving a motor vehicle almost three times the legal limit and you were carrying a female passenger, which was an aggravating feature and you put other road users at risk.”
Rooney’s solicitor, Michael Rainford, told the court the player’s two-week fine by Everton was “not insignificant and it’s another form of punishment”. He added: “Through me Wayne wishes to express his genuine remorse for what was a terrible mistake and a terrible error of judgment on his behalf.”
He disclosed that Rooney had written a letter to the court expressing his remorse over the episode, in which he was pulled over in a VW Beetle when a police officer noticed one of its tail lights was not working at 2am on Friday 1 September. The car belonged to a woman the footballer had met in the Bubble Room bar in Alderley Edge.
When asked by the officer if he had been drinking, Rooney said he had had “a few”. Rainford said Rooney had been “a perfect gentleman” when he was arrested and that he stopped the car without being flashed.
In a statement issued after the plea, Rooney said: “Following today’s court hearing I want publicly to apologise for my unforgivable lack of judgment in driving while over the legal limit. It was completely wrong.
“I have already said sorry to my family, my manager and chairman and everyone at Everton FC. Now I want to apologise to all the fans and everyone else who has followed and supported me throughout my career.
“Of course I accept the sentence of the court and hope that I can make some amends through my community service.”
England’s record goalscorer smiled at a police officer as he left the court to a chant of “Rooney! Rooney!”, surrounded by a media scrum.