A Martlesham man has been banned from driving after crashing while under the influence and causing a gas leak that forced the A12 to close.

Marc Dudley, 59, of Main Road, drove his Vauxhall Astra into a brick building in Top Street in the village, sparking a gas leak.

The crash, which happened on the morning of December 29 last year, resulted in Top Street and a stretch of the A12 being closed for several hours.

When the police arrived at the scene, Dudley had been helped from his car by two pedestrians.

He failed a roadside breathaliser test and was discovered to be three times over the legal limit for driving, Suffolk police said.

Due to the strong smell of gas, the premises were vacated for more than three hours while the area was made safe again, and Dudley was checked over by an ambulance. 

Dudley appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, September 20, having already pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with excess alcohol in his system. 

He has been disqualified from driving for 24 months and has been given a community order, which includes an order to not drink any alcohol for 120 days.

Dudley was also made to pay a total of £219 in costs and other charges.

PC Regan Bradshaw, of the Roads and Armed Policing Team at Suffolk police, said: “To get behind the wheel of a vehicle with such a large amount of alcohol in your system is incredibly dangerous, and it is very fortunate this did not become a more serious incident given the collision with the gas housing.

“This offence occurred during our annual Christmas campaign against drink and drug driving and clearly demonstrates the very real risks that driving under the influence brings. Our message is simple – don’t do it, it is not worth it.”