Chester-le-Street car dealership could lose business after being caught driving after smoking cannabis
An independent £ 36,000 a year car dealer who gave the police a false name risks losing his business for driving after smoking cannabis.
Steven Cowan, 29, found himself at the end of a 12-month driving ban after providing a positive test sample to Gateshead Police.
His lawyer told magistrates Cowan would not be able to get business insurance because of his conviction and no one else could be hired.
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Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said he was seen driving his BMW on the A1 motorway by police on the night of Saturday, February 27.
They followed him to a car wash at Derwenthaugh Industrial Estate, Swalwell, Gateshead, where they could smell cannabis through an open door.
Ms. Yanes Hellevik said: “Officers were called to an area of the A1, in connection with a black BMW which was being followed by other officers at 10:15 pm.
“The BMW entered the car wash and came to a natural stop, and the police followed and spoke to the driver.
“He first identified himself as Steven Smith. His eyes were glassy and there was a strong smell of cannabis coming from inside the vehicle.
“A roadside drug hit was positive for cannabis. He was taken into custody and found in possession of a small amount of cannabis.
The South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that Cowan had given a sample showing 2.4 mcg of cannabis breakdown product THC per liter of blood. The legal limit is 2mcgs.
Cowan, of Second Avenue, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham, pleaded guilty to drug driving and possession of Class C cannabis.
Alaister Naismith, defending, said: “In terms of possession of cannabis, it is a small amount for personal use.
“There was a confession in the interview and he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity today.
“For the driving offense, the drug test was 2.4 mcg, 0.4 mcg above the legal limit.
“He accepts that being an illegal substance, he does not have the leniency that a drunk driver might have.
“He’s an independent auto dealer, he’s going to lose his job because he’s going to lose his business insurance.”
Cowan, who told the court he makes an average of £ 3,000 a month, was also fined £ 807, with £ 85 in court costs and a victim fine surcharge of £ 81.
After being sentenced, he told magistrates: “It’s bad for only 0.4. I lost my life and everything.
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