A man once named the country's bravest police officer crashed his car into a ditch while over the drink drive limit and then tried to use a marked police vehicle to pull it out.
Pc Ian Fielding, described as an "exemplary" police officer after once disarming a gunman in a city centre, faces losing his job after he was sentenced to 200 hours community service and banned from the roads for 30 months yesterday.
Shrewsbury Magistrates' Court heard Pc Fielding had been to a party to celebrate his promotion to the helicopter squad in January this year.
He crashed his own Ford Focus down an embankment and then went back to West Mercia Police's training headquarters in Hindlip, Worcestershire, to get a marked Mitsubishi Shogun to retrieve his car.
Andrew Burke, prosecuting, said Fielding attended his leaving party at the training centre on January 7 and organised to sleep there instead of returning to his Bridgnorth home.
But after the party and a visit to a pub in Worcester he decided he wanted to be with his wife at home.
Mr Burke said a witness saw Fielding in the aftermath of the accident scrambling out of the ditch.
A short time later 44-year-old Fielding, a father-of-two, returned with the marked police car but he was spotted by a colleague who had been called to the scene.
He drove off and was pursued by the officer but after a while he returned and handed himself in.
A breath test found he had 79 microgrammes of alcohol in his system, with the legal limit being 35mg.
Fielding, who had 23 years' police service under his belt, was given the Bravest Policeman of the Year award when he disarmed a gunman in Worcester following a high speed chase just days before Christmas in 2001.
Following the chase, the suspect turned into a pedestrianised area and jumped out of his car, terrorising Christmas shoppers and pointing the gun at Pc Fielding and telling him to stay back.
Instead, he rugby tackled him to the ground and restrained him with help from two shoppers.
Fielding, who used to work for the Metropolitan Police, had suffered with post traumatic stress following the incident, Shane Crawford, defending, told the court.
Two close family members died just months before his crime and the responsibility of dealing with arrangements had fallen to him, Mr Crawford added.
He told the court: "This was a fall from grace of quite spectacular proportion. He had up until this point had an exemplary record.
"The very laws he is now guilty of breaking he sought for all of his working life to enforce," Mr Crawford said.
During his career he had worked on a number of high profile cases. He also appeared on Crimewatch, Richard and Judy and Tomorrow's World as part of his work.
District Judge Bruce Morgan told Fielding a custodial sentence was not needed in his case despite the serious crime.
He said Fielding was once one of West Mercia's heroes and had suffered enough by the fall of grace and loss of his career and pension.
He said: "It is quite clear one moment this officer was the hero of the hour and in a very short space of time he now may be considered to be a villain."
A spokesman for the West Mercia force said: "West Mercia Constabulary is aware of the results of the court case, and of the judge's comments. These will be considered as part of an internal inquiry."