A MANIAC who smashed his car into a neighbour's front room was jailed for what a judge described as "the most appalling and reckless dangerous driving".

James Irvine was two-and-a-half times the drink-drive limit when he lost control of his Toyota Avensis and ploughed into the house in Stockton last summer.

Teesside Crown Court heard today (Friday, February 21) that the 37-year-old - banned from the roads in 1996 for excess alcohol - had no insurance or licence at the time.

Loading article content

He left a trail of damage and a £7,000-plus repair bill for a housing group, injured the householder and had to be cut from the wreckage of his car by firemen.

Judge John Walford told him: "You had not been drinking for several hours because you had been asleep. It is almost impossible to imagine what you consumed."

The court heard that residents in Rostrevor Avenue on the Roseworth estate were getting fed-up with Irvine speeding backwards and forwards in the street.

When one neighbour was about to call the police, he heard a bang and saw the car had collided with another parked vehicle before burying itself into the house.

Firefighters, police and an air ambulance were called to the scene before Irvive was freed and taken to hospital with fractures to his shoulder and ankle.

The 64-year-old householder, who was in his front room, was hit with flying debris, and suffered a small cut to his head - amazingly not being more badly hurt.

Irvine, now of Acacia Road, Stockton, was jailed for a year after he admitted dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, and having no insurance or licence.

He arrived at court with a crutch to help him walk, having recently undergone a major back operation, his barrister Duncan McReddie told Judge Walford.

Mr McReddie urged the judge to suspend any prison sentence because it would hit Irvine's children hard, and because he had tried hard to stop drinking.

Judge Walford said: "It would be an affront to the householder and an affront to the others who were alarmed by your driving if I was to do anything other than pass an immediate custodial sentence.

"This really was, as you I think, now appreciate, the most appalling and reckless dangerous driving, which could have had far worse consequences."