Stephen McCartan caused at least £6,000 worth of damage during the incident (Picture: BPNS)
An army veteran has been sentenced for stealing a double decker bus and driving it three miles home at 2am after a drinking session.
Stephen McCartan, 52, staggered into Poole bus station in Dorset, opened the doors of the bus and went to sleep on the top deck.
When he woke up an hour later the former Royal Engineer went downstairs, sat in the driver’s seat and managed to start the vehicle up.
He reversed the 12-ton bus out of the station, crashing into railings, and wrote off a parked Fiat Panda car.
He then drove the blue and red Morebus through town, crossing its Twin Sails bridge, and headed towards his home at Hamworthy, where he abandoned it with its engine still running.
Ewa Russell, defending, said the Northern Ireland veteran had taken Xanax, a fast-acting tranquilliser, to help with anxiety earlier that night last December.
A double-decker bus similar to the one McCartan took on a joyride (Picture: BPNS)
She said: ‘It is a rather bizarre thing to do and something you can’t get away with. Mr McCartan is unable to offer any reasonable explanation. He hardly recalls the incident but did recognise himself in CCTV images and accepts it was him.’
McCartan pleaded guilty to taking a vehicle without consent in May, and was yesterday given a 12-week community order and a 7pm to 7am curfew.
His joyride caused more than £6,000 of damage.
Deputy district judge Clare Boichot also ordered him to pay £500 compensation and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.
McCartan’s suspected route from Poole bus station to Turlin Moor (Picture: Google/BPNS)
Poole magistrates heard McCartan has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
His father left when he was a child and his mother died when he was 17. He served in Ulster from 1992 to 1995 but would not talk about his experiences.
A probation officer said he probably has PTSD.
The veteran was ‘extremely remorseful and upset’, the court was told.
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