1. ITV Report

West Yorkshire rugby star Zak Hardaker admits drink-driving

Zak Hardaker pleaded guilty to charges relating to an incident in September. Credit: PA

Rugby league star Zak Hardaker has admitted drink-driving.

The 26-year-old Wigan Warriors full-back, who is from Pontefract, was charged with the offences on September 26.

Prosecutors told Leeds Magistrates' Court on Thursday that he attempted to avoid police officers by taking his car down a cul-de-sac along Knottingley Road, Pontefract, and running away on foot.

The court heard how, when officers later visited his home, the rugby league player claimed not to have been the driver and said that the Ford Fiesta involved was not his car.

He read at more that twice the drink-drive limit, and told officers he had two gins and six pints.

When breathalysed, Hardaker gave a reading of 74 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35.

You indulged in stupidity in asserting that you were not the driver and that it was not your car.

– District Judge Paul Currer

The judge said that the offence was aggravated by the fact that the former Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos player had a passenger with him.

The full-back, who was listed on court documents as Zak Dakin, was given was given a 20-month ban from driving and a £1,810 fine.

Nick Hammond, defending, told how the conviction could have a "devastating effect" on the sportsman's career, adding that the initial attempt to run away was a "very amateurish attempt to avoid the attentions of the police".

Hardaker, who is currently serving a 14-month ban from rugby for cocaine use, signed for Wigan in May.

He was thrown out of England's World Cup squad in 2013 for a breach of discipline and in 2015 agreed to pay £200 in compensation and write a letter of apology to a 22-year-old man under a "community resolution" after admitting assault.