Cannabis user caught drug-driving in Sunderland

A cannabis user was caught drug-driving in Sunderland days after smoking his last illicit cigarette, a court heard.

Michael Wallace, 38, was pulled over by police in Orr Avenue, Tunstall, and officers claimed they could smell the drug.

Wallace, of Quarry Road, also Tunstall, gave a positive roadside drugs swipe at 3.30pm on February 24 – and was arrested.

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But his solicitor, Greg Flaxen, told magistrates Wallace had not touched cannabis in the days before his arrest.

However, he conceded the prohibited substance was in his client’s system from other, less recent use.

Prosecutor Cheryl Ford said Wallace also had a drink-drive conviction from 2018.

She added: “Police stopped the defendant. They spoke to him and noticed that he appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

“A drugs’ swipe was done at the roadside which was positive for cannabis.

“He was taken to the station, and a full drug-drive procedure was carried out.”

Ms Ford told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court the test showed cannabis at a level of 4.7mcg per litre of blood. The legal limit is 2mcg.

She added his drink-drive conviction meant he was subject to a minimum three-year roads’ ban.

Mr Flaxen said: “He disputes the claim by the police that the car stunk of cannabis. There was no indication of bad driving.

“He had smoked cannabis a few days before. He did not intend to take cannabis and drive.”

Wallace, who hobbled into the dock on crutches with a broken leg, pleaded guilty to drug-driving and driving without a licence.

For drug-driving, magistrates disqualified him for three years.

He was fined £300 for driving without insurance, with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

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Chronicle Live – Sunderland