A drink-driver who hit a metal pole while leaving a car park has been fined £2,000 and given a three-year ban.

Craig Harte was more than twice the legal limit when he crashed his BMW.

Members of the public took the car keys from him after the accident and were praised by High Bailiff James Brooks.

The 51-year-old was also ordered to take an extended test at the end of his ban and complete a drink-driving rehabilitation course.

Harte was said to have been due to become a designated official at the George pub in Castletown.

Prosecuting advocate Barry Swain told the court that a witness saw Harte staggering in the car park by the Barbary Coast bar near the bus station, at 10.40pm on December 10.

He was seen getting into a BMW then sitting in it for a couple of minutes.

Other witnesses said that Harte then started driving without his lights on and tried to go around a corner in the car park, but went too wide and hit a metal pole, causing it to bend.

The witnesses went over to the car and took the keys out of the ignition until police arrived.

Harte failed a roadside breathalyser test and was subsequently arrested.

At police headquarters, he took a further test which produced a result of 89, more than double the legal limit of 35.

During an interview, the defendant admitted the offence, saying he was ashamed.

He told police he had been at work until 3pm, at the George pub in Castletown.

He said he then drove to Douglas and left his car in the Lord Street car park, before going to Quids Inn at around 4.30pm to meet friends.

Harte said he had not eaten all day and then went to 1886 bar in Regent Street.

He said that he was a trainee general manager at the George, and that he was thankful that the witnesses took the car keys from him.

The court heard that he has two previous similar convictions in the UK, but back in 2004 and 2005.

Defence advocate Peter Taylor said that his client had been due to appear before the licensing committee, to become a licensee, but that would now not be happening.

Mr Taylor said that Harte hoped he would still keep his job, but that he would have to see what happened after any adverse publicity.

The advocate said that his client had intended to leave his car in Douglas overnight and come back for it the following day, but that his reasoning had changed after he had been consuming alcohol.

‘He is grateful the public intervened before he did anything further,’ said Mr Taylor.

‘This has affected his job prospects.  He is deeply ashamed after being offence-free for 18 years.’

High Bailiff James Brooks praised the public for intervening and told Harte: ‘You said you were ashamed, you should be.  It was extremely foolish.

‘I accept you can’t recall much of what happened, but from the description of you staggering across the car park, it must have been obvious the last thing you should have been doing was getting behind the wheel of a car.

‘The reading was high, and though you didn’t travel far, I don’t doubt you intended to.’

Harte, who lives at Dumbells Terrace in Laxey, was also ordered to pay £125 prosecution costs and will pay all amounts at a rate of £100 per month.