A SHAMED firefighter who turned to alcohol to help her cope with stress could face dismissal after being caught drink-driving.

Bournemouth magistrates heard yesterday how safety adviser Elaine Case had been more than two and a half times over the limit when she got behind the wheel of a community support vehicle following a night-out to celebrate a colleague’s birthday.

Despite intending to call a taxi in the early hours of June 29 this year, the mum-of-one made “a huge error of judgement” and decided to drive a drunken firefighter home after he fell off his bike twice.

Prosecutor Nicola Reese said Case, 44, had been spotted getting into the Citroen panel van in Wimborne fire station’s yard by officers at the neighbouring police station.

“Officers saw the van repeatedly stalling and drove after Miss Case on to Leigh Road. They indicated for the vehicle to pull over after it crossed the central white line.

“They could smell intoxicants and she admitted having had several alcoholic drinks.”

The retained firefighter and full-time home safety adviser was arrested after a roadside breath test showed a reading of 90 microgrammes of alcohol.

Case, of Sandy Close, Wimborne, who wept throughout the proceedings, admitted the drink-driving charge.

Defending, David Hurley said she was “extraordinarily remorseful,” adding: “This case is going to have enormous consequences for her.

“She has been employed by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service for more than 25 years, first as an emergency control room operator and now as a retained firefighter at Wimborne, as well as a home safety adviser.

“An investigation is ongoing and options range from instant dismissal, a break from her job or a warning. She needs her licence to fulfil her roles.

“As a retained firefighter she needs to be at the fire station in four minutes.”

Mr Hurley stressed that Case had received commendations and been under “extreme stress” following matrimonial and financial difficulties, adding: “To help her through her problems she increased her use of alcohol.”

Case, who declined to speak after the proceedings, was banned from driving for 20 months, fined £200 and ordered to pay £85 costs.

Assistant chief fire officer Ben Ansell said: “DFRS are aware of a serious incident which occurred on June 29, 2013.

“The member of staff concerned is currently suspended and an internal investigation is taking place.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further until this investigation is complete.”