A Bulgarian man who broke his neck in a crash while driving at nearly three times the drink drive limit, told police he 'didn't know the rules in this country', a court heard.

Dimitar Pylatov crashed a VW Golf off the A357 in north Dorset on August 20, breaking his neck and causing severe damage to the car.

He was taken to Dorset County Hospital, where he was placed in a head brace known as a 'halo' and his blood was tested for alcohol. Tests showed there was 138 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of his blood. The drink driving limit is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres.

He only had a provisional driving licence at the time of the crash. There were no plates on the car and there was nobody else in the car with him.

Pylatov, aged 31, of Green Close in Sturminster Newton was still wearing the 'halo' when he appeared at Weymouth Magistrates Court last week to plead guilty via an interpreter to charges of drink driving and driving without a licence.

Ian Brazier, mitigating, said: "This gentleman was interviewed by police and he accepted he had alcohol earlier in the evening, then had a sleep and then was driving to Blandford later on. He said as he was driving along the car skidded suddenly to the right and the collision happened.

"He accepts he didn't have learner plates on the car and he said he didn't know what the rules were in Britain at the time."

Pylatov was disqualified from driving for 16 months, fined £276 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34 and prosecution costs of £85.

The court case came as Dorset Police revealed they would come down hard on drug and drink drivers this festive season - pandemic or no pandemic.

The annual Christmas crackdown will see officers carrying out roadside breathalyser tests on anyone who commits a road traffic offence - regardless of whether drivers appear to be under the influence.

Drug wipe sample kits will be used on suspected drug drivers, providing an instant roadside indication before the driver is taken to custody for a blood sample.

Officers will also be paying close attention to tip-offs from the public and will perform intelligence-led fixed-site checks.