A MAN whose girlfriend got into a row with a group of men in the car park of the Swindon pub she had come to collect him from stupidly decided to drive her home himself, the town’s magistrates heard on Wednesday.

Ross Kenneth David Pontin, 27, pleaded guilty to drink-driving on Queen’s Drive on November 26, shortly before 1am.

Prosecutor Kate Prince told the bench Pontin had been stopped by police at 12.50am because there were no lights on the car, a Vauxhall Astra.

After smelling alcohol, police asked Pontin to take a breath test, which proved positive. A later reading at the police station showed a level of 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Defending Pontin in court, Emma Handslip, told the bench that her client’s girlfriend had shouted at a group of men in pub car park after they seemed to be attracted to her vehicle.

When she reversed the vehicle out of the car park she again shouted at the men before getting out of the car.

In a panic, Ms Handslip said, Pontin jumped into the driver’s seat of the Astra, told his girlfriend to get in and embarked on the short journey home to his girlfriend’s home, forgetting to switch on the lights.

Ms Handslip told the magistrates that Pontin, who lived with his parents, had worked for the past four years for a double glazing company that would continue to employ him even if he lost his licence.

Chairman of the bench Alison Auvray told Pontin: “We can understand your decision to get behind the wheel. It is rather unfortunate you didn’t use the same decision making process to get out when you were round the corner.”

Pontin was disqualified from driving for 19 months, fined £300 and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30.