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Drunk man crashed car in Saunton Sands Hotel car park

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

By Andrea Foster

OVER THE LIMIT: Nicholas Cole, on the left, arriving at North Devon Magistrates' Court.

OVER THE LIMIT: Nicholas Cole, on the left, arriving at North Devon Magistrates' Court.

A MAN who was "out of his head" on drink crashed his vehicle in a hotel car park – then drove off at speed, causing staff to scatter.

Ben Winzer, for the prosecution, told North Devon magistrates Nicholas Cole was seen stumbling drunk in Saunton Sands Hotel car park, holding a bottle of wine.

A witness then saw him sitting in the driving seat of a vehicle.

The defendant said he was about to drive home and the witness advised him not to do that.

Later he was seen getting into the same vehicle and starting it up.

He crashed into a black Audi, causing the vehicle alarm to go off.

He then drove away at speed, causing staff outside the hotel to scatter.

Police were called and he was located. During the interview he said he had drunk the best part of two bottles of wine.

He said he remembered going to the car to get dog leads.

He was not going to drive but the next thing he remembered was being home.

He said Cole was "out of his head" at the time.

Tony Dart, for the defence, said he was staying at a friend's address, just down the road from the hotel.

He met up with friends and they had a meal together.

He had no intention of driving at all and had very little memory of what happened.

Mr Dart said: "It was one of the daftest things he has done in his life."

He worked in London as a successful photographer before moving down to North Devon, getting married and having a child. But that relationship had broken up.

Mr Dart said his client had never been in trouble and was absolutely aghast to find himself in court.

Cole, 49, of 15 The Quay, Appledore, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle at the Saunton Sands Hotel car park, having consumed alcohol over the limit.

He was found to have 111 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

He also admitted failing to stop after an accident.

He was disqualified from driving for 24 months, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and costs of £85.

He was also given a community order with unpaid work for 80 hours and his licence was endorsed.

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