A man who drove his van into a taxi during a three-day drinking binge has been spared jail.

Adam Richens, 35, ploughed his Ford Escort into a taxi at about 6pm on September 9 this year.

He was more than three times over the drink-drive limit when he hit the taxi containing a man travelling with his partner and daughter on Stokesay Drive in Toothill.

"He comes out into the road without turning or stopping," said prosecutor Keith Ballinger.

"The taxi swerved to the right but the van continued to drive and hit the taxi on the front right side."

The woman in the taxi recognised Richens as a regular drinker at the Village Tavern in Toothill where she had worked as a barmaid, Swindon Magistrates' Court heard.

She said Richens was using his van door to prop himself up as he lurched around looking into its windows.

"He staggered around his van looking in and out of the vehicle before leaving the scene without exchanging details with the taxi driver," said Mr Ballinger.

Gordon Hotson, defending, said: "Mr Richens left the pub because he had become embroiled in an argument.

"A male passenger in the taxi was extremely aggressive towards him, following him around.

"Meanwhile he was looking for documents to show the taxi driver.

"He left the scene clutching all his documents and by the time he had turned the corner to his home address the police were there."

Richens, of Stamford Close, Toothill, admitted drink-driving but said he wasn't staggering around using his van door to steady himself - and he has now sold his van.

He had been working off-and-on with charity CGL and had an argument with his partner a few days before the incident, the court heard.

"That led to him going on a three-day binge and this incident is a culmination of that," said Mr Hotson.

It was Richens' third conviction for drink-driving.

He was arrested for the offence in 2006 then again in 2012, when he was also convicted of failing to provide a specimen of breath.

He was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 24 months, banned from driving for 52 months and must pay £200 in costs.

He was also given a community order which means he must complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and a six-month alcohol rehabilitation requirement.

The earliest date he can be back behind the wheel is December 26, 2020.

Magistrate Richard Mattick told him: "We are hoping that this will help you to realise what damage you could cause going out drunk.”

He added: "If you kill somebody, a lot of other people will have problems."