A DRINK driver was caught after police called to a prang followed a trail of spilled oil back to the man’s van.

Mitchell Morgan, 25, was almost four times over the drink drive limit when he was tracked down by officers, Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecutor Keith Ballinger told JPs Morgan was behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra van that struck railings and a lamppost on Wharf Road, Wroughton, at around 11pm on Sunday, September 6.

As he drove away, the Astra driver was overheard say he was “going to get in so much trouble”.

Police officers called to the scene followed a trail of oil on the road to Morgan’s vehicle, which was parked up in a nearby street. The front of the van was damaged.

They knocked on the registered keeper’s door. The woman who answered told officers: “He’s just got home.”

Morgan was tested at the roadside then taken back to the police station, where he blew 122 – almost four times the legal limit of 35mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. A small amount of cocaine was found in his wallet.

Interviewed by police, he said he had had a few beers that evening and did not normally drink. He admitted being the person driving the van but did not know how the crash had happened, suggesting he may have taken his eyes off the road. He drove away because he “panicked”, he told police.

Morgan, of Coronation Road, Wroughton, pleaded guilty to drink driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and possession of cocaine. He had no previous convictions.

Gordon Hotson, mitigating, said his client had gone to the pub after earlier arguing with his partner about their house search. “They were going through a process of putting in offers on properties to purchase and offer after offer after offer was being refused. That caused tensions between them, they argued and because of the stress he went out to the pub and consumed alcohol.”

He met a friend at the pub, which was near his home, and had enjoyed a number of drinks. He had driven to the pub in his work van and, concerned about a recent spate of thefts of tools from vans, decided to take the vehicle home. Mr Hotson said: “He collided with street furniture on the way home – railings and lampposts – and very helpfully left a trail of oil.”

Morgan, who now works as a roofer’s labourer, had since had an offer on a house accepted. He had never been in trouble before, with Mr Hotson telling magistrates as he asked them to consider a community order or suspended sentence: “I would certainly hope in the next 12 to 18 months he would be able to keep himself out of trouble.” He did not have issues with alcohol or drug abuse; the cocaine had been in his wallet for many weeks.

Imposing an 18-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work, chairman of the bench Sarah Neish said: “You’ve pleaded guilty to a number of offences today, the first one being driving a motor vehicle when over the alcohol limit – and you were very far over the limit.”

He was banned from driving for 29 months and fined £100 for the cocaine possession. He must pay £180 in costs and surcharge.