A REFORMING drink driver has made the most of a judge's reprieve more than six months since reversing a friend's car into the house next door.

David Short had been drinking shortly before starting the Ford Fiesta, immediately losing control and reversing into the front of the neighbouring house, in Bowburn, near Durham.

No-one was injured in the incident, on a Sunday lunch-time last June, but engineers had to be called to ensure structural safety of the damaged property, in Bow Street.

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Durham Crown Court heard that although he fled on foot, Short was soon arrested nearby.

The 26-year-old defendant, of Bow Street, admitted dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, without insurance or a licence, plus failing to stop and report an accident, at Durham Crown Court, on June 28.

The court heard it put him in breach of two previous suspended prison sentences, for terms totaling 14 weeks.

But his barrister, Christopher Rose, told the court that Short was taking immediate, whole-hearted steps to overcome his drink problem.

Mr Rose said part of one of the suspended sentences included an alcohol treatment programme, while Short had voluntarily sought the assistance of the North-East Council on Addictions.

He said Short had remained alcohol-free between the incident and the court plea hearing.

"It may be worth pursuing the alcohol treatment, as it does seem he is making some positive progress," added Mr Rose.

Judge Christopher Prince agreed and deferred sentence to give Short the chance to continue to address his drinking.

On his return to court today (Tuesday January 21), the judge said he had read an updated Probation Service report outlining that Short has complied with the order, remaining drink-free and "settling down" with his partner, steering clear of troublesome influences.

He imposed an 18-month community supervision order, with 150-hours' unpaid work.