A Metropolitan Police officer commended for protecting Croydon during the 2011 riots has been sacked for dangerous driving and being drunk at the wheel.

Constable Lucasz Wooster, 39, caused a head-on crash when he veered in front of oncoming vehicles to overtake slow-moving traffic while driving off-duty with his young son in the car in July 2015.

Seven months later, in February this year, he was pulled over in his Audi by police in Easbourne, East Sussex, and found to be driving while more than three times over the legal alcohol limit.

At a misconduct hearing this afternoon, Wooster said he had suffered mental health problems since his first arrest because of a fear of losing his job.

The panel heard that on the day of his second arrest he had drunkenly climbed behind the wheel with the intention of driving to Beachy Head and killing himself.

The constable was sectioned under the Mental Health Act following the drink-driving arrest.

He appeared at Lewes Crown Court on May 17 and pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, which he had initially denied, in relation to the crash last year. 

On May 19 the officer, of West Sussex, admitted drink-driving at Hastings Magistrates' Court and was banned from driving for two years.

Appearing before assistant commissioner Helen King at his misconduct hearing today, Wooster admitted gross misconduct but asked to be spared losing his job. 

He said: "I would sincerely like to apologise for my behaviour in recent months. I've let down not only myself, but my colleagues and the public, and they have the right to expect more."

Steve Davies, a representative from the Police Federation, told the hearing Wooster had been born in Poland but was given the opportunity to study in New Jersey and live with an American host family at the age of the 16.

Living under the roof of his host father, a former state trooper, inspired Wooster to pursue a career in law enforcement, Mr Davies told the hearing.

After returning to Poland to complete a master’s degree, Wooster moved to UK with his fiancée, whom he married shortly after. 

He joined the Metropolitan Police in 2009 and was assigned to work in Croydon.

During his service in the borough he received two quality service reports, which recognise officers who have performed to a particularly high standard.

He was commended twice, for his work during the riots and for disarming a man threatening members of the public with a samurai sword and a knife.

In 2013 Wooster discovered his wife was having an affair, which was the catalyst for his mental health problems, Mr Davies said.

He added: "Ironically, it was being stopped for drink driving that led to him being sectioned."

Despite expressing sympathy for Wooster, assistant commissioner King ruled he should be dismissed without notice.