Nephew took car and rolled it after keys were left at pub

Greyhound Inn

Russell George took the keys to a Vauxhall Astra which had been left behind the bar of the Greyhound Inn at Swaffham, magistrates heard - Credit: Google

A couple who left a car in safe keeping while they went on a cruise discovered that it had been taken and rolled by a drink-driver.

Within hours of the keys being put behind the bar of The Greyhound pub in Swaffham, Russell George took them and crashed the Vauxhall Astra.

The 27-year-old is the nephew of the partner of the car’s owner, King's Lynn magistrates heard.

Prosecutor Denise Holland said the woman had left the keys with a relative at the pub on September 4 last year.

Then at 1.25am the following morning, police were called to an incident at Swaffham Way, Cockley Cley.

“A car had rolled over on its roof,” said Mrs Holland. “It seems, at that stage, the driver had left the vehicle.”

Police came across George who initially claimed he was a passenger before admitting he had been driving and was alone.

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Following his arrest in suspicion of drink-driving, he gave a reading of 151 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.

“In interview he said he had been drinking most of the day. He knew his uncle’s girlfriend had left the keys behind the bar and they were going on a cruise,” said Mrs Holland.

“I’m not in a position to say how much damage was caused [to the car] but the fact it was on its roof probably means it was significant.”

George, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to drink-driving, aggravated vehicle taking and having no insurance.

Solicitor George Sorrell said his client was remorseful for what had happened.

“He felt particularly distressed that day and he decided to take the lady’s car to visit a friend in a nearby village,” he added.

George, of Sandringham Way, Swaffham, was ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days as part of a 12-month community order.

He was also banned from driving for 22 months, which can be cut with completion of a drink-driver rehabilitation course.

He was ordered to pay £200 in costs and victim surcharge.