A drink driver got behind the wheel of his friend’s Jaguar – and caused £40,000 damage by crashing into a house.
A woman living at the corner home on Myrtle Avenue, Thornton heard “an almighty bang”, felt a bedroom shake and thought the house would fall down when Darren Byng smashed into the gable end.
Byng, who was banned from driving, walked off afterwards.
He told police he was drunk.
“I shouldn’t have been driving,” he said. “Tell my mate I’m sorry for crashing his car”.
Byng, 45, of Crookall Close, Fleetwood, was given 12 months jail yesterday, having admitted offences of aggravated taking a vehicle without consent, driving with excess alcohol, driving while disqualified and not having insurance.
It was thought he had earlier driven the Jaguar X type from the Southfleet Avenue area of Fleetwood before the crash followed on the evening of February 6 this year.
He and his long standing friend had met up in a Fleetwood pub that afternoon before walking to the other man’s address.
They began drinking wine at the address, mixing it with shots.
Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting at Preston Crown Court, said the friend later noticed that his car had gone, as well as the keys.
The woman who lived in a four bedroomed house on the corner of Myrtle Avenue was with her husband, daughter and two year old child when the collision occurred.
Her husband was downstairs in the lounge. Two others were in the front bedroom.
The prosecution said: “(The woman) was sat on her bed when she heard an almighty bang and felt the whole bedroom shake.
“She thought the house was going to fall down. It is thought the cost of repairs will be around £40,000 and will involve the rebuilding of a gable end wall and chimney stack, with refurbishment of the inside, particularly the sitting room.”
They went out and Byng was sat in the driver’s seat of the car, trying to start it up. The woman told him to get out.
But he simply walked off down the street, despite her efforts to get him to go into the house until the police arrived.
Two officers found Byng, who held his arms out in front and was immediately handcuffed.
He said to police at the scene: “I shouldn’t have been driving. I don’t have a licence.”
He had previously been banned from driving for five years and should have taken a retest before going back onto the road.
Byng also said to police: “I’m not a nasty person”.
A sample of breath showed he was three times over the drink drive limit. The Jaguar was written off.
Paul Robinson, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
He had a drink problem and had tended to consume 50 pints and shots a week. His lawyer said he had since taken significant steps to cut his drinking and had sought help from his doctor.
“At the time of the offences a number of factors conspired together to cause him to behave in this fashion that night. He had sought solace in drink.
“His instructions are that since these offences he has not consumed anything stronger than lager and shandy.
“If he is serious about changing his lifestyle - he says he is - I submit that a suspended sentence order would serve as a further incentive for him to do so.
“He has shown remorse”.
But Judge Jacqueline Beech told Byng as she passed sentence: “The court is of the view you pose a high risk of re-offending.
“This offence is too serious for anything other than an immediate sentence of imprisonment.” The judge gave him a five year driving ban, with an extended test to follow before he gets behind the wheel in future.