A DRINK-DRIVER who put children’s lives in danger after he lost control of his van and crashed outside a busy pub has been jailed.

Paul Swiers was more than three times over the legal limit when he careered towards a large group of customers at Newport’s Llanwern Bull this summer.

Prosecutor David Pugh played CCTV footage of the incident which showed the defendant hurtling towards a children’s play area and beer garden.

At Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Jenkins saw how Swiers, 29, of Hampden Road, Newport, screeched towards the terrified youngsters, their parents and other drinkers before he came to stop just short of them.

Mr Pugh said the maintenance worker was driving along Llanwern’s Queen’s Way in his Citroen van on a sunny Sunday evening just after 8pm on June 24 when he hit a curb and burst through the central reservation.

The initial impact punctured his two front tyres and he ended up on the opposite side of the carriageway next to the pub before making his escape by driving off in his damaged vehicle.

When a police officer caught up with the defendant not long after, Mr Pugh said, he found him in a bush with a mobile phone in one hand and an unopened bottle of Budweiser in the other.

He was arrested and a breath test showed he had 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The legal limit is 35mg.

Swiers pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving with excess alcohol.

The court heard the defendant had previously suffered a family tragedy and had spoken about the death of a son and now suffered with alcohol problems.

The judge heard how Swiers has two previous convictions for drink-driving from 2008 and 2015.

Mr Pugh also told the court how the defendant was in breach of three community orders.

In February he was convicted of criminal damage after using a metal watering can to smash windows at St John the Baptist Church in Frenchay Common, Bristol, causing £10,000 worth of damage.

This year he was also guilty of a public order offence at a Harvester restaurant on Frenchay Park Road in the same city.

During that offence he had poured beer into a salad bowl and spat in the face of female customer and threatened to do the same to a police officer called to the scene.

And in March he convicted of a further criminal damage offence after punched a wall at his mother’s home while “intoxicated” and assaulted a police officer.

Harry Baker, mitigating, asked the judge to take into account Swiers’ guilty pleas for the incident at the Llanwern Bull.

Judge Jenkins told the defendant: “You drove perilously close to a children’s playing area and a beer garden where people were in the sunshine enjoying food and drink”.

He said he recognised Swiers’ “personal tragedy” and added “it must have had a devastating effect on you and still does”.

The judge said: “But, you simply cannot continue going on behaving the way you have.

“Since the tragedy, you have lost all self-respect and control. You have become alcohol dependent.

“You put your own life in danger and the lives of other children.”

Swiers was jailed for 14 months, banned from driving for three years and seven months and ordered to pay a victim surcharge.