A drunken Birmingham City Council worker went on a revenge wrecking spree with an excavating machine after being suspended from his job, the city's crown court heard yesterday.

Keith Matthews, who caused more than £31,000 damage at a depot, escaped a prison term after Judge Richard Griffiths-Jones accepted he had acted out of petulance and it was a "one off" incident.

The 40- year- old from Farren Road, Northfield, was instead sentenced to a 200 hour community punishment order and ordered to pay £1,200 in compensation after he admitted criminal damage.

Andrew Tucker, prosecuting, said when the incident happened last October, Matthews had been suspended for alleged gross misconduct and had been told to leave home by his wife after an argument.

He said he had gone out and drunk ten pints before going to the council transport yard where he had worked and persuaded a security guard to let him in to use the lavatory.

Mr Tucker said he then got into a JCB excavator and was spotted on CCTV repeatedly driving the machine into a number of buildings.

Timothy Harrington, defending, said difficulties in Matthews' life, including marital problems and the financial strain of being out of work, led him to this foolish behaviour.