A HUNTSMAN and hound keeper with the Coniston Hall Estate narrowly escaped prison after admitting five charges of drink driving, aggravated vehicle taking and vehicle damage under £5,000, driving without insurance, criminal damage to an arresting officer’s glasses and obstructing a constable.

Skipton magistrates told father-of-two Conrad Jones, 23, of Wheelwright Farm, Coniston Cold, that they could easily have sent him to jail because of the seriousness of the offences, but instead set him a high level community order as jailing him could lose him the tied accommodation where he lived with his wife and small children.

Prosecuting, Mel Ibbotson said the Isuzu vehicle Jones had taken belonged to the Coniston estate where he worked and while he was insured to drive it on the estate, he was not insured to drive it on a public road.

Mrs Ibbotson said he had crashed it on the A65 on November 4 this year after giving a friend a lift to Hellifield. The incident occurred on the way back and the damage resulted in the vehicle being written off. Three passengers were in at the time and Jones left the scene.

Police traced him to his accommodation and he failed a breath test.

He was later found to have 54 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Mrs Ibbotson said he became agitated with the police and knocked off the glasses of one police officer, causing £99 of damage. He also resisted arrest and was abusive.

Defending, Ansar Khan said his client realised his foolishness. He had not thought he was over the drink-drive limit and believed he was insured to drive on the road.

“He panicked when he crashed which was why he left the scene, but has pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity,” said Mr Khan.

Mr Khan said his client had not had a drink since that night and had also sought independent help from drug and alcohol recovery service, Horizons.

The bench told Jones who had a previous conviction for dangerous driving and was part way through a community order for an unrelated offence that his behaviour that evening was not acceptable and they could easily have issued a custodial sentence.

They banned him from driving for 12 months and ordered he carry out an 18 month community order with 30 days rehabilitation activities and a six months alcohol treatment requirement. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £99 for the broken glasses, a £95 surcharge and £85 costs. His licence was to be endorsed for driving without insurance.