Northumberland man given ban for driving with cocaine in his system

A Bamburgh man has been sentenced for drug driving and possession of a knife.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 12:57 pm
Berwick-upon-Tweed Magistrates' Court.

Thomas Armstrong, 26, of Lindisfarne Avenue, was banned from driving for three years when he appeared at Berwick Magistrates’ Court.

He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of drugs, possession of cocaine and cannabis, driving without insurance and possession of a lock knife.

Magistrates heard the offences dated from Wednesday, May 22, when the defendant was stopped by police in Belford.

James Long, prosecuting, said an officer was on patrol in The Meadows area shortly before midnight when he saw a Vauxhall Vectra driving at what he thought was excessive speed.

The court was told that the vehicle was stopped and a front seat passenger ran away. The officer thought he could smell cannabis so a roadside drugs test was carried out.

The legal limit is 10 microgams per ml/blood and the defendant’s result was over 32 micrograms.

The defendant was arrested and searched and a small quantity of cannabis and cocaine was found, along with a lock knife in his jacket pocket.

“Clearly the lock knife should not have been in his pocket,” said Mr Long. “It should have been in a tool box.”

In mitigation, David Parish said the defendant had hit a hare in the road which caused significant damage to the car’s front bumper. He got the knife from tools in the back of the vehicle and fixed the problem.

Mr Parish said: “He absent-mindedly, perhaps foolishly, instead of putting the knife back with the other tools put it in his pocket instead.”

He said the defendant was a recreational drug user who had taken cocaine earlier in the day and had not realised it would still be in his system.

He had previously been banned for drink driving in 2012.

A further charge of possession of a knuckle duster, which the defendant denied, was dismissed after the prosecution offered no evidence.

Magistrates also imposed a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, an £80 fine and ordered the defendant to pay costs and a surcharge of £185.