Herefordshire plasterer banned from the roads after drug-drive arrest

A SELF-EMPLOYED plasterer has been banned from the roads after he was caught driving with drugs in his system.

Samuel John Westacott admitted the offence when he appeared before magistrates in Hereford.

Police had been on patrol in Whitecross Road, Hereford, at 9.15am on August 28 when they saw a white Ford Transit van being driven by Westacott, prosecutor Ralph Robyns Landricombe said.

Officers decided to stop the van, and Westacott was asked to take a roadside drug test after they noted his restricted pupils and pale colour.

He was arrested after the test returned a positive result for cocaine, and an evidential blood test in custody revealed he had 643 microgrammes of cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine and 75 microgrammes of MDMA per litre of blood. The respective legal limits are 50 and 10.

Speaking on his own behalf, Westacott, who had previously entered a not guilty plea, apologised for wasting the court’s time and said he had previously received bad advice from a solicitor.

“The police pulled me over for a broken brake light, not because I looked under the influence” the 39-year-old told the court.

“I had taken the drugs on the Friday night and this was on Monday morning. I was working that day and was not in any unfit state.

“I am not justifying what I did, as I should not have taken the drugs anyway, but I had slept two nights after taking them and I was not affected. I don’t want anyone to think I had done drugs and got in the van and driven right away. I would never do that.”

The court heard the self-employed plasterer and general builder would find it difficult to continue working after a mandatory driving ban.

Westacott, of Escley Drive, Hereford, was disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined £300. He must also pay costs of £135 and a £34 victim surcharge.

Hereford Times