A SUSPECTED drink driver avoided a possible ban after going on the run for over six hours.

Ryan West, 21, from Greenfields, Kington, failed a road-side breath test after crashing into a hedge and was about to be placed under arrest.

However, Hereford Magistrates Court heard last week how the serving soldier pushed past a police officer and ran 'into the darkness'.

West pleaded guilty at court on Thursday to assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer.

Kriss Ewing, prosecuting, said that at 7am on December 19, police received a call from a member of the public who had came across an Audi A3 which had crashed into a hedge in Kington.

"The passer-by had stopped to help the driver and formed the opinion that he was drunk," said Mrs Ewing.

Police attended the scene and spoke to the defendant. They could smell intoxicants and when asked the suspect said he had drank two pints.

"Police conducted a road-side breath test and West was told he was being arrested under suspicion of driving over the limit," added Mrs Ewing.

"West was told he needed to be taken to the police station and the officer took out their handcuffs and asked for his wrist. The defendant pushed the officer in the shoulder and barged him out of the way before running off into the darkness."

Despite a search of the area West wasn't located until 2.40pm when the same police officer saw him walking down Church Street in Kington.

West was compliant and apologised for his actions.

Chris Read, mitigating, said that West was in the process of being discharged from the army on medical grounds due to mental health issues.

"He has very little memory of what actually happened that morning," said Mr Read.

"He had difficulties with his medication and had previously mixed his medication and alcohol.

"He had decided not to take his medication which in itself produces a problem as it should be gradually reduced. Cutting it off can produce behaviour issues which happened on this day.

"West is in the process of being formally discharged from the army and will be provided with a lot of help and support."

Magistrates handed West a conditional discharge for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay a £135 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.