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Ex-Sunderland player Darron Gibson handed two-year community order and banned from driving for 40 months

Darron Gibson Photo: PA

Ex-Sunderland and Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson has been handed a two-year community order and banned from driving for 40 months at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court after he admitted drink driving.

District Judge Roger Elsey did not jail him after hearing the former Sunderland player was going through a number of psychological issues at the time, for which he is now receiving treatment.

Gibson's Mercedes 4x4 collided with six parked vehicles as he drove from his Durham apartment to a physio session, the court heard.

His lawyer Henry Blackshaw said he had taken sleeping tablets and drank from a litre bottle of vodka the night before the crash.

Mr Blackshaw said Gibson denied being an alcoholic but said he was a binge drinker who was taking steps to overcome the problem.

Losing his Sunderland contract had cost Gibson hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost bonuses, the court heard.