South Tyneside motorist hit with road ban for drug-driving

A South Tyneside motorist has been banned from the roads after driving erratically on his way to work at 6am - four days after taking cocaine, a court heard.

Police were tipped off about Sam Ward, 29, when he tailgated a vehicle on the southbound A1(M) in North Yorkshire – and swerved across lanes.

Ward, of George Scott Street, South Shields, also ran into the back of another vehicle on Tuesday, April 19.

Officers caught up with Ward, who failed a drugs swipe after being pulled over - and admitted using cocaine the previous Friday.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

He is starting a two-year roads’ ban and must pay almost £600 in fines and court costs after pleading guilty to drug-driving and cocaine possession.

His law breaking also cost him his job, leading him to find work in Sweden, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “A witness saw a white van in his rear-view mirror. He said the vehicle was behind and he was being tailgated.

“The van overtook and was constantly changing lanes without signalling and was ‘all over the place’. It narrowly missed a wagon.

“A passenger in the vehicle contacted the police. The defendant was stopped between junctions 51 and 50.

“A drugs’ swipe gave a positive reaction for cocaine, and he was duly arrested. There was a small amount of a white powder in his wallet.

“He said he had left home at about 4am and a collision had taken place on the A1(M). He had collided with the rear of a wagon. He admitted he had taken cocaine.”

Ward gave a reading for cocaine breakdown product BZE of greater than 200mcg per litre of blood. The legal limit is 50mcg.

Heather Bolton, defending, said: “He confirmed to police that he had used some cocaine on the Friday and that he was not aware that there was any impairment to his driving.

“He was in possession of a very small amount of cocaine. As a result of this incident, he lost his job and has had to find work outside of the UK.”

District Judge Kathryn Meek banned Ward and fined him £461, with £85 court costs and a £46 victim surcharge.