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Drug-driver had been using cannabis to help with depression and back pain

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A drug-driver has been banned from the road for 36 months after he was caught with cannabis in his system behind the wheel of a car.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on December 7 how police had stopped Lewis James Metcalf, 22, of Spooner Drive, Killamarsh, on the A38 near Ripley initially over concerns that he had allegedly been driving a BMW at an excessive speed.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said a police officer driving on the A38 stated that a BMW drove past at excessive speed and the vehicle was eventually stopped.

Police claimed they could smell cannabis and that Metcalf had large-sized pupils and a roadside test swipe revealed a positive reading so Metcalf was further tested at a police station.

Metcalf, who has a previous drug-drive conviction, pleaded guilty to driving when the proportion of cannabis in his blood exceeded the specified limit after the incident on September 17.

Defence solicitor Mark Shanks said: “This defendant has been a regular cannabis user for some time since his teens and he has self-medicated because he has suffered with anxiety and depression and with a work-related back injury.

“He has used cannabis as a crutch and that is why he has fallen into difficulties.”

Mr Shanks added Metcalf’s driving speed had become excessive because he was being followed by the police in an unmarked vehicle but as soon as they identified themselves he was fully compliant.

Metcalf is extremely disappointed in himself, according to Mr Shanks, and he knows he should have behaved differently because of his previous conviction.

Mr Shanks also told the court Metcalf will lose his job as a shopfitter because he needs to be able to drive to move products from the factory.

The probation service and Mr Shanks added that Metcalf is seeking help from his GP and a support group to address his cannabis use.

Magistrates sentenced Metcalf to a 12 month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and disqualified him from driving for three years.

He was ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.