A George magistrate has sentenced a serial drunk driver to six year's imprisonment, the maximum penalty for such a crime.

A George magistrate has sentenced a serial drunk driver to six year's imprisonment, the maximum penalty for such a crime.

April Lewis has eight previous convictions for drunk driving, dating back to 1990, for which he has already served several fines and prison sentences. All the offences were committed with his wife's Opel Kadett, which was confiscated by the Asset Forfeiture Unit and police two weeks ago, the reported on Thursday.

In September 2003 he was arrested after being caught twice driving with blood alcohol concentrations more than six times the legal limit.

Lewis' blood test showed an alcohol level of 0,36 g/100 ml after he was pulled to the side of the road in July 2003. He was caught again a month later, when blood tests revealed an alcohol concentration of 0,31 g/100 ml. The legal limit is 0,05g/100 ml.

Lewis was convicted on both counts of drunk driving and on Wednesday sentenced to an effective six years in prison.

Road safety officials have welcomed the decision, which they say should serve as a wake-up call to other motorists.

"It's about time road crimes were taken seriously," Gary Ronald, spokesman for the Automobile Association, said. "A drunk driver is, in effect, committing attempted murder. This is hardly a harsh punishment."