Swerving to avoid an animal and colliding with a hedge led to unpaid work for a Houghton man.

Michael Andrew Gunning, formerly of Neyland, now of Hill Mountain, appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday, July 21.

Gunning, 43, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said police received a call about a vehicle which had collided with a hedge at 10.15pm on March 28, and found Gunning propped up next to it.

A witness described Gunning as ‘hammered’ and unable to speak or walk properly. He refused to provide a roadside sample and was taken to Haverfordwest police station.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “He put his mouth around the tube of the intoxilyzer machine, but it was apparent he was sucking not blowing.

“He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and there is clear evidence of impairment. He lost control of the vehicle and drove off the road.

“The crown say it’s a deliberate refusal.”

Mike Kelleher, defending, said there was no evidence Gunning had been driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

“He is extremely remorseful that he did not provide a specimen.”

Mr Kelleher said Gunning had experienced an ‘extremely difficult day’ and was short of sleep.

“It was lockdown and animals were all over the road. He swerved and had an accident.”

“The breakdown company had been contacted and he was waiting for them.

Mr Kelleher added: “He is not sure why he failed to provide a sample, he believes he gripped the tube too hard.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay £175 in costs and a surcharge.