A DRINK driver who wrecked his girlfriend’s car after crashing it into a lamppost when he took it without her permission has avoided jail.

Nathan Hoffer was caught over the drink driving limit twice in the space of just 11 days when he was already banned from the road.

A court heard the 36-year-old was lucky he hadn’t seriously injured anyone following the smash.

Hoffer, who has 22 previous convictions for 35 offences, was spared prison after a judge said he was capable of being rehabilitated in the community.

MORE NEWS: Father-to-be will miss birth of his child after being caught dealing heroin

The disqualified driver was stopped in his partner’s Ford Fiesta on Commercial Street in Pontllanfraith at around 9.30pm on Wednesday, May 19.

Prosecutor Peter Donnison told Cardiff Crown Court: “The police said he was smelling of intoxicants.

South Wales Argus:

The lamppost was destroyed by Hoffer. Picture: CPS Wales/Cymru

“The defendant told them he had drank four pints earlier that evening and that he was banned from driving.”

Mr Donnison said Hoffer was breathalysed and gave a reading of 58 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

On Sunday, May 30, the same car was found abandoned by police in Gelligaer, Caerphilly, after it had crashed into a lamppost.

South Wales Argus:

The defendant admitted he took his girlfriend’s car without asking her. Picture: CPS Wales/Cymru

Hoffer’s bank card was found in the vehicle and officers began to search for him.

The defendant was soon arrested after he returned to the scene to give himself up.

In perhaps a case of classic understatement, the court heard he had caused “severe damage” to the front of the Fiesta.

When he was breathalysed this time, he gave a reading of 56 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

Hoffer, of Bryn Y Gaer Werdd, Gelligaer, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, taking a vehicle without consent and criminal damage.

He also admitted two counts each of drink driving, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.

The defendant had been banned from driving for three years in November 2020 after he was convicted of failing to provide a specimen.

Stephen Thomas, representing Hoffer, said: “He knows how irresponsibly he has behaved.

“His best mitigation is his guilty pleas.

“He’s genuinely remorseful and thankful that nobody was hurt.”

The judge, Recorder Sean Bradley, told Hoffer: “It was extremely fortunate that nobody was seriously injured.”

The defendant was jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months.

He was made the subject of a three-month electronically monitored curfew between the hours of 5pm and 5am.

The unemployed Hoffer was banned from driving for three years and ordered to pay £200 costs and a £128 victim surcharge.