Drug driver was ‘over limit from the night before’

A SCAFFOLDER arrested for drug driving said he was still suffering the effects after using cannabis the night before.

Michael McIntosh, 36, of Crowborough Road, was stopped after driving erratically past a crime scene in Mount Pleasant Road last November.

He was found to be carrying a knuckleduster and did not have a valid licence. He appeared at Hastings Magistrates Court on Tuesday where he admitted driving under the influence of drugs, possessing cannabis, possessing an offensive weapon, not having a licence and supplying false information to an insurance company.

Peter Bolwell, prosecuting, told the court police were manning a go-slow zone near the scene of an unrelated incident when McIntosh’s BMW approached. He said: “They heard the sound of an engine being thrashed and saw a car coming down the hill at about twice the speed limit before braking very heavily. The officers immediately noticed a strong smell of cannabis even before he wound down the window.”

McIntosh handed over the knuckleduster and a small bag of the class B drugs when questioned, and further checks found he did not have a full driving licence and that the insurance policy which covered the car had been obtained under a fake name.

Noelle Magennis, defending, said McIntosh had acted rashly after being offered a job as a scafffolder last year. “He had to have his own transport and did not have a licence but he rather foolishly thought that desperate times called for desperate measures.

“He was late for work that morning and panicking a little bit. He was driving faster than he should have been and although he had been using cannabis the night before he says he stopped at about 11pm or midnight. He thought he was fine to drive.”

In regards to the knuckleduster, Miss Magennis said McIntosh was a “martial arts enthusiast” who had borrowed it from a friend at work. “He was just going to keep it as an ornament and totally forgot he had it on him,” she said.

McIntosh has previous convictions for drug offences and was in breach of a conditional discharge for stealing money from a phone box when he was arrested in November.

Magistrates sentenced him to 180 hours of community service and banned him from driving for 18 months.