A west Cumbrian father pleaded with a judge not to ban him from driving after he hit three parked cars.

Jonathan Wignall, 37, of Whitehaven, pleaded guilty to failing to stop after a road accident when he appeared at the magistrates court in Workington on Friday.

District Judge Gerald Chalk heard that Wignall had an argument with his partner and had driven off from their property while she got her belongings together and left.

Diane Jackson, prosecuting, said the incident occurred on High Road in Whitehaven just after midnight on May 20 and neighbours called police after hearing a loud bang.

She said: “Mr Wignall’s car was on its roof and the neighbours saw him coming out of his car and running away. Officers went round to his address but there was nobody there.” It wasn’t until several hours later that officers eventually spoke to Wignall.

Mrs Jackson said: “He told them he swerved to avoid something and that he couldn’t remember getting out of the vehicle. When he got home he was about to report the accident when the officers arrived.” She added in these circumstances a sample of breath or blood would have been taken but too many hours had passed since the incident for any trace of alcohol or drugs to be detected in his system.

Emily Smith, defending, said Wignall had suffered a concussion. She said: “Concussion makes people do strange things, he knows he walked away.” She added he walked the route he normally walks with his dogs between Whitehaven and St Bees before seeking assistance and then heading home.

Miss Smith said: “He denies drinking any alcohol, even at that time it would have been possible to breath-test him or do a drug-swipe if officers thought it was necessary because these substances stay in your body longer than you think.”

She asked Judge Chalk to use his discretion and not ban Wignall from driving.

Wignall said not being able to drive would cause him exceptional hardship as he wouldn’t be able to

pick up and drop off his six-year-old son who lives in Maryport.

He added that he would also not be able to get to work as he works shifts at Amcor in Salterbeck, Workington.

Judge Chalk accepted Wignall’s representations, which were made under oath. He handed him a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work. Wignall was also given nine penalty points. He must pay £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge.