Wigan cocaine binge driver banned from road

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
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A Wigan man who tried to evade a police car following a cocaine binge, has been banned from driving for more than three years.

Stephen Cunliffe of Sidney Street in Platt Bridge, appeared at Wigan Magistrates’ Court charged with driving under the influence of drugs, without a licence and without insurance.

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The court heard the 24-year-old part-time fairground worker was followed by police after they saw him driving down Stranraer Road in Marsh Green in a damaged Ford Focus.

Cunliffe, who was driving without a valid licence, sped up to escape the officers, who then turned their sirens and lights on in pursuit. Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said the cars drove down Lancaster Road and through Marsh Green towards Scot Lane.

“By the time the car turned on to Challenge Way he was doing about 60 miles an hour,” said Ms Kenyon.

Cornered, Cunliffe abandoned the car and ran, with the officer giving chase on foot. He was apprehended shortly after by other officers on Stranraer Road.

“Police could smell cannabis so asked him to give a saliva sample at the side of the road,” she added. “There were levels of benzoglecgonine detected and he gave a blood sample at the station.”

Benzoglecgonine is an enzyme produced in the body when it reacts with cocaine and can be tested for at the roadside. Results later showed that he had 335mcg of the substance per litre of blood when the legal limit is 50mcg.

Peter Moran, defending, said: “He admits that he had been taking cocaine the night before. The substance found is not the same as excess alcohol. It doesn’t mean it’s the equivalent of being six times over the limit.”

Cunliffe, who has a previous drink-driving conviction and has already been banned for 16 months before this incident, was given a 40-month ban and a £120 fine.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £115 which will be added to £869 outstanding from previous court costs. The money will be automatically docked from his unemployment benefit.