Zak Hardaker drove at double the drink-drive limit to 'protect his golf clubs'
Wigan Warriors' Zak Hardaker drove home from the pub while double the drink-drive limit to "protect his golf clubs", a court heard today.
The Warriors and England full-back abandoned his Ford Fiesta and ran off after police spotted him speeding.
The 27-year-old, who had been drinking gin and beers, then told lies to officers when they went to his home in Pontefract, claiming he had not been the driver of the vehicle.
He pleaded guilty to drink driving at Leeds Magistrates Court today.
The court heard Hardaker, of Featherstone Lane, Pontefract, has no previous convictions.
Nicholas Hammond, mitigating, described Hardaker as a "professional sportsman".
Mr Hammond said it was "not certain" whether his contract will continue with his employer as a result of the conviction.
He added: "He takes his responsibilities as a sportsman very seriously.
"This could have potentially devastating consequences on his employment."
The lawyer said Hardaker had made a "grave error of judgement" in deciding to drive.
Mr Hammond said his client had decided to drive the short distance home after realising he had left his golf clubs in his car.
He said: "He is not someone who ordinarily behaves in this regard."
The court heard Hardaker helped charities including the Prince of Wales Hospice in Pontefract.
Hardaker was fined Â£1,700 and banned from driving for 20 months.
The ban will be reduced to 15 months if he completes a drink-driving rehabilitation course.
District Judge Paul Currer said: "You decided, for the safety of your golf clubs, that you would put the safety of the public at risk."