Former Premier League striker Marcus Bent has been banned from the roads after being caught nearly four times the drink-drive limit, despite telling a court he ‘only had a couple of glasses of wine’.
Bent, 43, scored nearly 100 goals in English football across more than 14 clubs from 1995 to 2011.
His professional career Brentford, before he had spells Crystal Palace; Sheffield United; Blackburn Rovers; Ipswich Town; Everton; Charlton Athletic and Birmingham and was capped by England at under-21 level.
Bent, of Cobham, Surrey, provided a reading of 134 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.
His claim that he was over the limit after consuming a couple of glasses of wine the previous night was rejected at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Chair magistrate Vanessa Weguelin told the court: ‘It was lunchtime and you were nearly four times over the limit.
‘There is no way you could have had a couple of glasses of wine the night before and still been at that level.
‘It is one of the highest readings we have ever heard of and you compounded that by speeding in a busy area.’
Bent was given a 32-month driving ban and a 12-month community order. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.
Marcus Bent pictured outside Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Monday. The former Premier League striker was caught speeding his BMW on the A3 in south west London while more than three times the drink-drive limit
Bent in action for Wigan Athletic against Chelsea in a Premier League fixture. The former striker scored nearly 100 goals in English football
Ms Weguelin added: ‘It is going to be a massive inconvenience for you not to drive, but you are going to have to get used to that.’
Corran Helme, prosecuting, told the court the defendant had been seen ‘driving at speed’, resulting in a police stop.
Upon talking to officers, there was a ‘suspicion he had been drinking’ before he failed a roadside breath test.
He subsequently provided a 134 reading at Wandsworth Police Station.
Magistrates ordered an immediate verbal pre-sentence report at the hearing.
Probation officer Kehinde Akinjo said: ‘He accepted the full responsibility for the offence. Mr Bent recently separated from his ex-girlfriend, with whom he has a two year-old daughter, and felt lonely the night before and went out for a few drinks with friends
‘He had two glasses of wine and it was several hours after drinking and the next day when he thought he was fit to drive and was speeding to overtake a slow-moving vehicle.
‘He denies being dependent on alcohol, but has been in the past and he completed rehab last September.
‘Mr Bent says he is a former professional footballer and drink and drug issues occurred when he did not have anything to do after retiring and his mental health deteriorated.
‘He filed for bankruptcy due to poor investments and he lost property he accumulated during a successful football career and says he is not dependant on drugs or alcohol anymore.’
The court heard Bent (pictured) has previously had issues with controlled drugs and has ‘now hit rock bottom’
Scott Ewing, representing Bent, also said in mitigation: ‘It is widespread and known that when sportsmen finish they have too much time on their hands.
‘Football was a comfort blanket and with all the dressing-room camaraderie he was able to deal with things. Unfortunately sycophants and leeches provided unregulated investment advice and Mr Bent went from having a high-profile successful career to nothing.
He added: ‘He had other issues with controlled drugs ten years ago. He has now hit rock bottom, from where he’s looking up and there’s only one direction to go and that’s to give advice to others so they don’t fall into the same traps.
‘It is a pity it has taken something like this for Mr Bent to get the assistance he needs.
‘He has an opportunity to get involved in a business building summerhouses for £150 per day, with the opportunity to use his image to promote the company and hopefully become part of that business without the financial investment.’
Bent appeared at the same court in 2016, where he was fined £385 for possessing cocaine at Chessington World of Adventures and, earlier the same year, received a suspended prison sentence for an affray with police at his home address.
After a five-year hiatus from the professional game, he attempted a short-lived comeback in non-league football at the age of 39 with Wick and Cornard United.
Bent was declared bankrupt in January, 2019.