Sunderland drug and danger driver has “turned his life around” after two court cases in four days

A Sunderland dad who narrowly avoided jail and was handed a road ban after appearing in court for driving offences twice in the space of four days has “turned his life around,” his solicitor told a court.

Steven Clark, 38, of Revelstoke Road, Downhill, was handed a 12-month suspended prison term at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, January 6, for dangerous driving.

And at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday, January 9, he pleaded guilty to two counts of drug driving – and was given a 12-month roads’ ban at each appearance.

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But despite a criminal record of 18 past convictions, his solicitor said he had changed his behaviour.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Defender Annalisa Moscardini said Clark had stopped drinking and taking illegal substances, with his drug drive offences on Friday, June 22, being his last.

Prosecutor Jonathan Stirland told magistrates Clark was caught with cocaine in his system after police traced him after a car accident in Kidderminster Road, Downhill.

He said: “The details were passed through the police control room and an area search was conducted. The vehicle was found at the rear of Revelstoke Road.

“The officer approached the vehicle, and she could hear its engine running. The defendant was in the driver’s seat.

“She turned the engine off and removed the keys, and she could smell cannabis.

“She asked the driver if he had had anything, and he said that he had had some cannabis that day.

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“She cautioned and arrested him, and he was taken into custody where a blood sample was provided.”

The court was told instead of a cannabis reading being found, the sample revealed evidence of cocaine use.

Clark, who pleaded guilty to two counts of drug driving, gave a sample in blood of 32mcg of cocaine, against a legal limit of 10mcg.

Cocaine derivative BZE was also found at a level above the legal limit of 50mcg.

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Ms Moscardini said: “He got a suspended sentence at the crown court. Mr Clark has had a somewhat tumultuous year.

“However, for the past six months, he has turned his life around. He is the sole carer for his child.

“He has given up the recreational drugs he was using and does not drink.”

Alongside his driving ban, Clark was fined £120, with £85 court costs and a £48 victim surcharge.