A driver has apologised after fleeing the scene when he crashed his car into a grade two listed Dorset home - causing more than £20k worth of damage.

A court heard that on July 16, 2023, Steven Clarke was driving his white Volkswagen Golf GTI at an 'inappropriate speed', when he careered into the historic home, writing off his car and 'causing significant damage'.

The owner of the home, West Hill Lodge, just off the A352 at its junction with the A3030, just south of Sherborne, said the incident has been 'a stressful experience'.

Clarke, 26, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention, failing to report an accident, failing to stop after an accident, and using a vehicle with insufficient tyre tread.

The crash is estimated to have caused £23,000 of damage. Much of the external damage to the home has yet to be repaired.

Elizabeth Valera, prosecuting, said Clarke had been travelling at an inappropriate speed before crashing into the house, didn't report the incident and then fled the scene.

The court was shown dash camera footage of Clarke driving at speed in Yeovil past members of the public, and another piece of footage showing the aftermath of the crash.

Mrs Valera said: "He was driving a Volkswagen GTI on July 16 at about 5.40pm in the evening when the police began to receive reports of the damage to West Hill Lodge.

"Clarke wrote off his car and caused significant damage to the house."

The court heard that in a police interview, Clarke had initially denied he had been driving recklessly but after being shown dashcam footage of his driving he confessed.

The A3030 was closed for some time as a result of the crash, with police noting that one of the tyres of Clarke's Golf GTI was 'totally devoid of tread'.

Bournemouth Echo: Tyre 'devoid of tread'Tyre 'devoid of tread' (Image: Crown Prosecution Service)

Mrs Valera added that police believed the reason Clarke fled the scene was that he was under the influence of a substance, and wanted to avoid being tested. She added that as he fled, it was not known if there were any injuries.

Speaking in his own defence, Clarke, of Rivers Mead in Sturminster Newton, said: "It was a regretful decision, I shouldn't have done that. If I do lose my licence, I do take care of my mum, hospital appointments and things like that. I do apologise."

Colin Weston, chairman of the magistrates' bench, handed Clarke a 12-month community order with a requirement to complete 80 hours of unpaid work. He was disqualified from driving for nine months.

Additionally, Clarke must pay a £114 surcharge and £85 in court costs.

Speaking after the sentencing, the homeowner, who wasn't home at the time of the incident, said: "The cost is partially because it is a listed building.

"You need specialist people to repair it. I don't know when external work will start because it is quite a thing to have the traffic lights for the work and to find the traditional craftsmen.

"It is a very stressful situation. I just want to forget about it and move on with my life."