A DRUG-DRIVER who had cocaine in his system had been struggling with his parents’ divorce, a court heard.  

Benjamin McCarten, 21, had been driving a Suzuki Swift on Kirkstone Road in Whitehaven on August 6.  The vehicle caught police attention because it was driving in excess of the 30mph speed limit, Workington Magistrates’ Court heard.

Pamela Fee, prosecuting, said police caught up with McCarten and spoke to him. Officers could smell alcohol ‘straightaway’.

McCarten was asked if he had been drinking and he said he’d had a couple earlier on.

He was breathalysed and gave a reading of 38mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit to drive is 35mcg.

A drugs wipe was carried out and this was positive for cocaine. McCarten was taken to the police station and blew under the limit, giving readings of 32mcg and 30mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

A blood sample was taken which showed he did have cocaine in system. The reading was 94mcg of cocaine per litre of blood. The specified limit is 10mcg.

McCarten, of Garden Villas, Main Street, Hensingham, Whitehaven, pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit.

The defendant, who was not legally represented, said he agreed with the prosecution’s case.

He told the court: “I was going through a bad time and my head was all over the place. It was very silly to do. It was a moment of madness. My parents divorcing – it was all a bit too much at the time.”

McCarten was given a 12-month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work and an alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirement.

He was disqualified from driving for 17 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £114 surcharge to fund victim services.