A DRINK driver locked himself in his own car boot in a moment of “madness” to try and evade police officers, a court has been told.

David Watson, 44, resorted to climbing into the rear of his Volkswagen Passat after a concerned motorist reported him to the police.

The Port of Tyne employee was seen weaving around traffic and slowing down before overtaking other vehicles on the A19, headed towards Seaham, County Durham, on January 2.

A witness driving behind him decided to follow the black Passat after it drove into a kerb along the A19, Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

Watson continued to drive in an “erratic manner” off the A19 to Seaton Lane and eventually coming to a stop outside an address in Haverley Drive, Seaham, just off the major road.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “Mr Watson was witnessed alighting from the car and he then gets into the boot of the vehicle.

"The witness added that the car also had significant damage to its front end.

“Police officers attend the scene and Mr Watson locks himself into the boot on their arrival. The PCs there resort to smashing a window to get into the car at which point he then gets out and takes a breath test.”

The court heard Watson will lose his job as a result of the court case and mandatory driving ban.

His solicitor added that the 44-year-old would not be able to use public transport to reach the Port of Tyne's base in South Shields.

Although he had made attempts to make alternative travel arrangements, he had no colleagues or friends able to offer him lifts owing to his varied shift work.

A letter explaining Watson’s “regret” over the incident was handed to District Judge Tim Capstick, who read the message and also took into account a character reference from his line manager.

District Judge Capstick addressed Watson at the end of the ten-minute hearing and said: “I’ve seen and read your letter and I accept you genuinely express remorse and regret over your actions on that day in question in what you describe as ‘madness’.

"I understand this driving disqualification will also have a significant impact on you.

"You will lose your job and your livelihood."

Watson was disqualified from driving for 18 months.

District Judge Capstick also imposed a £135 fine for the offence and told Watson he must pay £85 in court costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Watson expressed an interest in an offer to complete a course offered by the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme in the near future.