A DRINK driver who crashed into the car of a doctor who was on his way to a Christmas Day shift at the Royal Gwent Hospital has been disqualified from driving for two years.

Leszek Ficner, 34, of St Stephen's Road, Newport, was twice the legal limit when he got into his Jeep Cherokee on Christmas Day and drove down Stow Hill, mounting a kerb, driving on the wrong side of a road and hitting another car, being driven by a doctor on his way to the Royal Gwent Hospital.

Ficner, appearing at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on Thursday, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol on December 25, as well as a similar offence on December 6.

Ruth Hale, prosecuting, said police on patrol on Christmas Day described Ficner as smelling strongly of alcohol and a breath test revealed 77 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath (the legal limit is 35). The doctor was able to make it to his shift, the court heard. On December 6 Ficner was found with 50 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Paul Lewis, mitigating, said Ficner, who works 12 hour shifts, was ashamed of his actions and said his wife had left him.

District Judge John Charles told Ficner that he "quite clearly had a problem with drink."

"On the face of it you are a hard-working individual that has encountered some domestic difficulties, but I cannot overcome the fact that you have committed an offence of drink-driving while on bail for an identical offence," he said.

Ficner was given a 12 month community order and must complete 140 hours of unpaid work.

His licence was endorsed for both offences and he was disqualified for two years. He must pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.