South Tyneside motorist found to be over drug-drive limit after breaking down on busy Northumberland road

A South Tyneside man has been fined and banned from driving after pleading guilty to a string of motoring offences on the same day on a busy Northumberland road.

Lee Fenwick, 34, of Spencer Street, Jarrow, was found to be over the drug-drive limit when quizzed by police on the A69 on Wednesday, July 24, a court heard.

A test also revealed he was over the limit for the controlled drug Benzoylecgonine, a by-product of cocaine, and had no motor insurance in place on his 2008 plate Peugeot 207.

Further police checks revealed he was only the holder of a provisional driving licence, and he was also charged with attempting to make off without paying a taxi driver.

The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Fenwick had been driving his car with passenger Alex Williams alongside him, when it broke down.

Prosecutor Laura Lax said: “An ambulance passed and pulled over to stop and help and offered to take them to a petrol station to get them fuel.

“Just after midnight an ambulance crew got a call to got to Morpeth. They again saw Mr Fenwick and Mr Williams walking along the side of the A69.

“They were advised that they had broken down again. They made contact with the police and told them of their concerns.”

Ms Lax said a policeman found the car by the side of the road but there was no sign of either man - but the air bag had been deployed.

She said two other officers attended the scene, by which time a taxi was there along with Fenwick and Mr Williams.

The court heard the taxi driver said Fenwick had used his services to get fuel but had not paid the £25 fare.

Ms Lax added: “A PC requested a roadside breath test, there was no alcohol but there was evidence of cocaine.”

The court heard the level of cocaine found was not less than 11 microgrammes per litre of blood against a legal limit of 10.

The level of Benzoylecgonine exceeded 200 microgrammes in a litre of blood against a legal limit of 50.

Val Bell, defending, said: “He shouldn’t have been driving the vehicle. He had no idea that cocaine was still in his system.

“The vehicle was parked safely off the carriageway. The damage to the vehicle was caused much earlier in the day and not by the defendant.”

Fenwick was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £120 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and £25 compensation to the taxi driver.

Magistrates imposed no separate penalty for the Benzoylecgonine offence.