Chef who used cannabis to relax after work banned from the road for drug-driving

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A chef who used cannabis to relax during gruelling 75-hour work weeks has been given a long ban from the road after being at the wheel while over the drug-drive limit.

Stephen Shaw, from Winstanley, pleaded guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court to having too much of a controlled drug in his system while driving a red Honda Civic on Hall Lane.

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He also admitted having in his possession a quantity of the illegal drug on March 29.

The magistrates responded by handing him a hefty driving ban which will stop him getting behind the wheel for more than three years.

Prosecuting, Tess Kenyon told the court Shaw, of Warminster Grove, was pulled over by police and the officers could immediately smell cannabis inside the car.

The 31-year-old admitted he had smoked a joint the previous night and handed over a small amount of cannabis which was consistent with personal use.

He took a drug test and provided a blood sample in which he had 5.6 microgrammes per litre of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, compared to the legal limit of two microgrammes.

The court heard Shaw works long hours in kitchens as an agency employee and had got into the habit of taking the drug after his tough shifts to help him wind down.

However, the magistrates were also told that he knew his habit of taking illegal substances, which began when he went through a tough period of family life, was a problem he had to tackle.

Defending, Bob Toppin said: “It doesn’t minimise what my client did but he was perfectly capable of driving.

“He sees this positively and a step towards stopping taking cannabis altogether.

“He is waking up to the fact that he’s not just letting himself down but also his family and causing problems and inconvenience for them.

“I am pretty confident we won’t see him again in this particular context.”

The magistrates gave Shaw a community order lasting for 12 months involving 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving for 40 months and ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge.