A MAN who had drunk about 10 pints of lager in a Cumbrian pub took a van without consent and set off to drive the 115 miles home to Accrington.

Blackburn magistrates heard Benjamin Livesey crashed the van on the M6 at Tebay causing over £9,000 worth of damage to the vehicle.

And when police attended the scene of the crash Livesey, who had no driving licence and no insurance, refused to provide a breath sample.

Livesey, 20, of Sycamore Grove, Baxenden, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle-taking, failing to provide a breath sample and driving without a licence and insurance.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months, made subject to a community order for 12 months with 20 days' rehabilitation activity requirement, banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and £115 victim surcharge.

Passing sentence, the chairman of the magistrates described the offences as “very serious.”

“You were hurtling down the motorway after drinking a significant amount, without insurance or licence and you caused a significant amount of damage,” he said.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said Livesey was working in Cockermouth as a sub-contractor and was staying in a hotel with a colleague, Chris Walmsley.

Mr Walmsley had left the keys to the van, which only he was authorised to drive, in the hotel room while they went to a pub to watch the World Cup semi-final between Croatia and England.

Mr Walmsley said Livesey was drinking faster than him and after they left the pub he got involved in an argument with some locals and Mr Walmsley pulled him away and they had a scuffle.

“Livesey returned to the hotel in a drunken state and shortly after the manageress saw him run across the square, get in the van and drive off,” said Mr Robinson. “She contacted the police because she was concerned about the state he was in.”

At about 11.15 pm police attended an accident on the M6 and found the van on the hard shoulder with significant damage. Livesey, who was still in the van, refused to give a breath sample.

When he was interviewed Livesey said he had decided to drive back to Accrington after the argument in Cockermouth. He said he had lost control on the motorway and collided with the central reservation

Scott Parker, defending, said his client had a number of issues before he started drinking. It was the anniversary of his grandma’s death and his uncle had died suddenly a few days earlier.

“After the argument with his colleague he became very upset and wanted to get back home to his family,” said Mr Parker.

“He has lost his job as a result of this incident and has decided to go into full-time education studying for a degree in surveying and building.”