A 28-YEAR-old Wigton man told a court he was deeply ashamed he drove after drinking seven pints of cider.

Luke Dixon, 26, was caught after he crashed his Ford Focus into a hedge after deciding to drive the short distance from a pub in the town to his home, Carlisle's Rickergate Magistrates' Court heard.

The defendant, of Highfield Gardens, Wigton, admitted drink driving.

Prosecutor Amy Labram said Dixon crashed on the A596 near Wigton on October 18.

"Police arrived at the scene and found a black Ford Focus crashed into a hedge," said Miss Labram.

The defendant was nearby and identified himself to officers, who could smell alcohol on his breath.

He was also unsteady on his feet.

"He said he was the driver," said Miss Labram.

The court heard that Dixon admitted drinking seven pints of lager at a pub over five hours.

He had not eaten any food in that time.

A breath test revealed he had 93mcg of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

The defendant explained that he had decided to make the five minute journey from the pub to his home in his car.

"His last memory is of being on Wigton bypass," said Lauren Heasley, for Dixon.

"He believes he fell asleep at the wheel."

She said the defendant wanted to apologise to the court and to society for his irresponsible offence.

"He is deeply ashamed and remorseful," said the lawyer.

The defendant said: "I understand that I put members of my community at risk through my actions. This is unacceptable."

What happened had made him stand back and assess his mental health.

He had recently been made redundant but had his head in the sand, he said.

Since the crash, he had decided to abstain from alcohol entirely.

He said he had sought help from a counsellor and would reflect on the experience to become a better person.

District Judge Gerald Chalk imposed a 24 month driving ban, offering the drink drivers' rehabilitation course.

Dixon must also complete 70 hours of unpaid work in the community, and pay costs of £85 and a £90 victim surcharge.