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Drug-taking Sunderland builder found slumped at wheel of Ford Focus with engine running given road ban

A drug-taking self-employed Sunderland builder has been banned from driving after being found slumped at the wheel with the engine running.

By Gareth Crickmer
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 4:55 am

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Gary Trueman, 49, could not initially be roused in his Ford Focus by police alerted by a passer-by in Glenleigh Drive, Grindon.

But they touched pressure points around his neck which eventually awakened him at about 1.40pm on Monday, November 16, 2020.

A blood test showed Trueman, of Sydenham Terrace, High Barnes, had amphetamine and cannabis derivative THC in his system at levels over the legal limit.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

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He is now starting a one-year roads’ disqualification after pleading guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court to being unfit to drive through drugs.

Prosecutor Clare Irving said: “Officers were driving along The Broadway when they saw at the roadside a member of the public trying to get their attention.

“They pointed out a Ford Focus in which the defendant was slumped over the steering wheel with the engine running and the key in the ignition.

“Officers tried to rouse him but could not. They applied pressure to pressure points and he awoke. He was heavily under the influence of drugs.”

Mrs Irving said Trueman’s blood sample showed THC at a level of 2.9mcg per litre, against a legal limit of 2mcg.

The same test revealed 387mcg of amphetamine, the legal limit being 250mcg.

Trueman, who has a single criminal caution for production of drugs in 2012, also pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to custody.

Heather Bolton, defending, said: “He had been to work on a night shift and had taken what he believed to be sleeping tablets.

“He has driven to a shop to buy milk and has gone back to his car and fallen asleep. He accepts that these drugs were in his blood.”

Mrs Bolton added Trueman did not realise a warrant was out for his arrest and had found being detained by police and brought to court “traumatic”.

District Judge Paul Currer told Trueman: “It’s not a good idea to take drugs when you are going to drive a car.”

Alongside the driving ban, he fined him £200, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.