Drug-driving motorist banned after he is stopped by police on A19 at Sunderland

An engineering firm worker was caught over the drug-drive limit after driving while using cannabis to help deal with anxiety and depression.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 7:00 am

Police who stopped Lewis Reece, 21, of Newark Crescent, Seaham, got an immediate smell of the drug coming from his Skoda Octavia, a court heard.

A roadside drugs test on the dual carriageway A19 at Sunderland proved positive, as did two further samples given at a police station on Friday, April 17.

Reece’s first criminal misdemeanour has landed him a year’s driving ban and fines and court costs totalling £419.

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The case was dealt with in South Shields at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutor Grace Taylor told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “Officers had cause to stop the defendant’s vehicle and when they did, there was a strong smell of cannabis.

“There was a roadside test which proved positive. The defendant was arrested and taken to a police station.

“The defendant is of previous good character.”

Summy Thandi, defending, said: “The defendant has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

“He fully accepts the offence that he’s here for today. He’s extremely remorseful for his actions.

“It’s the first time that he’s been in court and it’s a shock to his system. He has no previous convictions and he is of previous good character.

“There was no aggravating feature to his driving. Due to the stop, the officers get a whiff of cannabis and he’s tested over the limit.”

Mr Thandi added: “He’s employed with an engineering firm, which is based in Darlington and may be moving to Manchester.

“His employers are aware of what has happened and have allowed him to keep his employment.

“Losing his licence will be financially hard for him. He states that he took cannabis to help him deal with anxiety and depression.

“He was caught out at the time thinking that he was ok to drive. It was an error of judgement on his behalf.”

Reece, who pleaded guilty to drug driving, gave a reading of 6.5mcgs of controlled drug THC, a derivative of cannabis, per litre of blood.

The legal limit is 2mcgs.

He was fined £300 and must pay £85 courts costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

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