A MOTORIST caused thousands of pounds damage when he crashed his car into a lamp post.

Nicholas Gash-Welby was driving on the A259 at Rottingdean when he collided with the street light.

The former soldier said the impact brought on an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder, forcing him to leave the crash scene.

The 41-year-old left his car and live wires exposed after the accident in the early hours of August 12.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court he admitted driving without due care and attention, and failing to report the accident to police.

Jeremy King, prosecuting, said the incident happened at 1am but Gash-Welby only handed himself in to police at 10am the next day.

He had passed the Rottingdean Greenways roundabout in a Ford Fiesta.

Mr King said: “He collided with the lamp post and it fell down on top of his motor vehicle.

“He got out and simply walked home, initially failing to report the accident to the police.

“It caused £15,000 worth of damage to the lamp post and live wires were left exposed.

“He attended the police station ten hours later.”

Gash-Welby represented himself in court and wore a suit with two medals attached to his lapel.

He said: “When the accident happened, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, it was like being in the middle of a bomb blast.

“I had broken my sternum and was in shock at the time.

“I made a mistake by walking away, but I was oblivious as to what was going on.

“After the accident I was disorientated.

“It was like having everything happening again from previous combat experiences.

“It’s a mistake that should never have happened.”

Gash-Welby said he missed a previous court date because he had been homeless for six weeks earlier this year and had not received the documents.

He said he was self-employed and worked on building sites and needed his car to get to jobs in isolated places which are not near public transport routes.

Magistrate Roz Buchan said Gash-Welby had previously had six points added to his licence in April 2016 for driving without insurance.

She gave him a conditional discharge for one year and imposed a one-month driving ban.

Gash-Welby, of Montreal Close, Peacehaven, must also pay £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.