A FORMER soldier has been banned from the roads after crashing into traffic lights in Hereford while over the limit.

Daniel Colin Mansel Lock, of Broomy Hill, Hereford, admitted drink-driving when he appeared before Hereford Magistrates Court on August 12.

Prosecutor Ralph Robyns Landricombe said police were called to reports of damaged traffic lights in Widemarsh Street in Hereford at around 2.45am on July 25.

On arrival, they found a set of lights and a keep left bollard had been damaged, but there was no vehicle at the scene.

A search found Lock's car in Barrs Court Road with a damaged front end, while officers said the driver smelled of alcohol.

The 30-year-old former Royal Signals soldier failed a roadside breath test, and an evidential test revealed he had 54 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

In interview, Lock said he had been drinking in Woolhope the previous day, and had misjudged a corner and hit a bollard after returning to Merton Meadow to retrieve his car in the early hours of the morning.

Edmund Middleton, for Lock, said Lock and friends had decided to meet for a memorial drink in Woolhope after two of their friends died in a crash days before.

"He actually had a friend drive him back to Hereford because he was drinking and then waited a good number of hours before he felt he would be safe to drive," Mr Middleton said.

"He tells me his right tyre had blown out and that caused him to come into contact with the traffic lights. He then moved the car so it was not left in the middle of the road.

"He thought he was under the limit, but clearly he was not."

The court heard a driving ban would mean Lock, who currently works for Network Rail, would not be able to continue with his job.

Lock was disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined £288. He must also pay costs of £135 and a £34 victim surcharge.