ACTOR Hugo Speer was banned from the roads today after he drove home from a friend's wake while twice the legal drink-drive limit.

The 41-year-old star of The Full Monty crashed his BMW car into a traffic island after he decided to drive the short distance back to his home, Harrogate Magistrates Court was told.

He admitted drink-driving today when he appeared before magistrates and was disqualified for 18 months and fined £350 with £45 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The court was told he decided to drive a mile back to his house in North Rigton, near Harrogate, on June 10 this year following the funeral and wake of a very close friend.

He had consumed wine at the wake, but thought he was safe to drive the short distance back home where he lived alone, the court was told.

However, moments later, he lost control of his vehicle and hit a traffic island on a country lane. A passing motorist found him asleep at the wheel of his car.

Prosecuting, Miss Zoe Simpson told the court: "She was concerned for the male's welfare and turned round and went back to approach the vehicle. She saw a male who she thought she recognised sat in the driver's seat. He appeared to be asleep."

The emergency services were called and Speer who fully co-operated with the police was found to have 70 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Miss Simpson said Speers' hazard lights were flashing on his car and his air-bag had been set off by the force of the crash.

Speer, a former Harrogate Grammar School student, made his name as a male stripper in the award-winning 1997 film comedy about a group of redundant steelworkers.

Mitigating, Geoff Rogers told the court: "During the course of the wake it is right to say he consumed some wine. However, he still feels he was being quite cautious."

He said his client did a lot of charity work and a lengthy driving ban would be particularly hard on him as he lives in an isolated village in North Yorkshire and he needed a car for his acting work in Leeds and London.

Speer was told he had 14 days to pay the fine and his ban would be shortened if he attended a rehabilitation course, which he indicated to the court he was prepared to do.