A Gravesend driver who necked two treble vodkas before failing to stop after hitting a motorcyclist in his convertible has kept his licence.

Darren Cheetham, 40, fled the scene of the crash in Coldharbour Road, Northfleet, went back to the barbecue where he had been beforehand and drank a further four or five treble vodka and cokes.

He handed himself in to officers at North Kent police station in Northfleet at 6.45pm on March 16 - nearly an hour-and-half after he had put a motorcyclist in hospital by hitting him while trying to turn right into Dene Holm Road at 5.20pm.

Cheetham, of Cambrian Crescent, Gravesend, employed the so-called 'hip flask' defence that had he drunk as much as he said he had between 3.30pm and 5.20pm that afternoon he would not have been over the limit at the time of the accident. He was not charged with drink-driving but at Dartford Magistrates' Court today he pleaded guilty to failing to stop his blue Audi A4 convertible after an accident.

Magistrate Robert Chapman told the court: "This was obviously an unsavoury incident and apart from the fact you left the scene of the accident there was an injury to a party involved."

A member of the public stormed out and slammed the door of the public gallery as Cheetham was handed a £110 fine, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge and was handed back his licence with nine penalty points added to it.

Mr Chapman added: "I would like to add for anybody who is listening or watching that that is in our guidelines."

The motorcyclist was taken to Darent Valley Hospital with chest pains and a 15cm rip in his knee after being knocked off his black Suzuki GSE.

Cheetham had "panicked" and driven off after hitting him, prosecutor Lynda Huppatz told the court.

The only thing he had eaten all day was one piece of chicken at the barbecue at around 3pm.

Cheetham told magistrates: "I would just like to apologise to everyone involved.

"It was my mistake and I would just like to hold my hands up and say I'm sorry."