Chronicles

North East drug drivers to be banned from the roads after being caught behind the wheel

These drivers have been banned from our roads having been found to be behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.

Drug drivers have been brought before the courts on Tyneside after showing a disregard for not only their own safety, but their fellow motorists too.

In one case, police ended up pulling over a HGV driver who was driving erratically by weaving across lanes on the A1.

Among those to be convicted was one man who flipped his car in North Shields, while another needed facial reconstruction surgery after crashing his vehicle in Gateshead.

We take a look at the drivers who have ended up in court in recent months after being caught behind the wheel under the influence of drugs in the region.

Richard Temple



Richard Temple pictured at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in South Shields

This drug driver was more than three times over the legal limit and needed facial reconstruction surgery after crashing his car.

A court heard police were called to a road traffic collision on the A694 on June 13, 2020.

They found Richard Temple, of Prince Consort Road, Gateshead, in the driver’s seat of the car and he had cannabis in his pocket.

The 35-year-old was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), with serious injuries as a result of the crash.

A blood sample was taken and analysed which showed he had 7mg of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a by-product of cannabis, when the legal limit is just 2mg.

In a police interview, Temple said he didn’t realise the drug would stay in his system for so long but couldn’t recollect a lot of things due to head injuries.

Temple, who has 10 convictions for 15 offences, pleaded guilty to driving while over the drug limit and possession of cannabis.

District Judge Kathryn Meek disqualified him from driving for 12 months and ordered him to pay £300.

Stephen Drape



Stephen Drape leaving North Tyneside Magistrates' Court, North Shields
Stephen Drape leaving North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, North Shields

Draper was found to be over the limit for cannabis after he travelled to take his dog for a walk.

Members of the public rang the police after they smelled the class B drug coming from Stephen Drape’s parked car on Coach Lane, in Witton Gilbert, in County Durham, on September 21 last year.

A court heard that officers found the 29-year-old in his Vauxhall Astra and conducted a roadside saliva test, which he failed.

Drape was arrested and later gave a blood sample, which showed him to be over the limit for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a breakdown product of cannabis.

Drape, of Snowdon Court, in Stanley, County Durham, has now been banned from the roads for six months after magistrates gave him 10 penalty points, which meant he had totted more 12 points.

He was also fined £120 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Michael Barham



Michael Barham leaves North Tyneside Magistrates' Court in North Shields
Michael Barham leaves North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in North Shields

This drug driver was found with cannabis stashed in his car after he flipped it in the middle of a busy road.

Michael Barham was over-the-limit for the class B drug when he crashed his Ford Focus near a garage in North Shields on August 3 last year.

Police and the fire brigade attended the scene on Waterville Road and a roadside breath test was performed, which Barham passed.

However, officers remained suspicious that the 24-year-old was under the influence of something and performed a saliva test, which came back positive for cannabis.

A member of the fire crew then discovered three bags of the class B drug in Barham’s upturned vehicle, a court heard.

Barham, of Park Road, in Shiremoor, was banned from the roads for 28 months after he pleaded guilty to driving while over the drug limit and possession of cannabis.

As well as the ban, Barham was fined £200 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Steven Valentine



Steven Valentine leaving North Tyneside Magistrates' Court, North Shields
Steven Valentine leaving North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, North Shields

Valentine was over the limit for cocaine and cannabis when he was pulled over by police on Newcastle’s West Road.

The 40-year-old was arrested after failing a roadside saliva test and later gave two blood samples for analysis.

A court heard that he was found to be over-the-limit for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Benzoylecgonine (BZE), breakdown products of cannabis and cocaine respectively.

And Valentine, of Hawthorn Walk, in Cruddas Park, Newcastle, admitted he’d made a “really big mistake” when he appeared before magistrates in North Tyneside to plead guilty to two counts of driving over the drug limit.

Prosecutor, Robert Lawson, said Valentine was pulled over in his Toyota Yaris for a routine check on the West Road in the early hours of the morning on July 24 last year.

The court heard that two blood samples later proved Valentine was over-the-limit for THC and BZE.

Magistrates fined Valentine £120 and ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge. He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Jamie Blacklock

The cocaine-fuelled driver was snared after police noticed he wasn’t displaying front number plates.

Blacklock was behind the wheel of his Vauxhall Mokka when he was pulled over in the early hours of the morning on Kenilworth Road, Ashington, in August last year.

Officers immediately noticed that the 30-year-old appeared lethargic and had enlarged pupils, a court was told.

As a result, he was tested at the roadside for both alcohol and drugs.

Blacklock, of Sanderson Terrace, in Widdrington, Northumberland, was found to have no booze in his system but did test positive for cocaine and was arrested.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that Blacklock’s subsequent blood analysis proved he had 32 microgrammes of cocaine per litre of blood, when the legal limit is 10.

He was also found to have 200 microgrammes of BZE per litre of blood, when the limit is just 50.

The technology support operative was find £323 and banned from the roads for 12 months after pleading guilty to two counts of driving while over the specified drug limit.

He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Stephen Fox

Police were forced to stop traffic on a busy main road due to the drug-fuelled HGV driver.

Stephen Fox was behind the wheel of a lorry when a concerned member of public reported him for repeatedly weaving across lanes on the A1 southbound near junction 51 in Leeming Bar, in North Yorkshire.

Officers arrived at the scene and saw the 45-year-old continuing to drive erratically, a court heard.

And they became so concerned for other motorists that they were forced to undertake a rolling roadblock to prevent other traffic from going near Fox’s HGV.

Described in court by his own solicitor as a “an episode of Police Interceptors”, Fox was finally brought to a stop when officers illuminated a sign telling him to do so on September 16 last year.

Magistrates were told that Fox immediately admitted to having had a drink and taken drugs but he proved to be below the alcohol limit for driving.

However, he was arrested after a saliva test came back positive for cocaine and cannabis.

Fox, who has a past conviction for drink driving, was taken to a police station, where a sample of blood was taken and analysed.

He was found to have derivatives of cocaine, cannabis and diazepam in his system.

Fox, from Rowan Court, in Blyth, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle whilst unfit through drugs.

He was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay a £128 victim surcharge.

He was also banned from the roads for three years.

Dylan Douglas

This drink driver, who was also over the limit for cocaine, has been fined more than £1,200.

Dylan Douglas also had the Class A drug in his wallet when he was pulled over in the early hours of the morning on Victoria Terrace, Bedlington.

The 24-year-old was behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Corsa when he was stopped by police after the vehicle was flagged up to them as uninsured.

Officers immediately noticed that Douglas appeared to be under the influence of either booze or drugs but he later tested positive for both, a court heard.

He was arrested and later found to be over the limit for cocaine and alcohol.

Douglas gave a reading of 40 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, when the legal limit is just 35, and 32 microgrammes of cocaine per litre of blood, when the legal limit is 10.

Douglas, of Stirling Drive, in Bedlington Station, Northumberland, was fined £1,200 and banned from the roads for 12 months after he admitted driving with excess alcohol, driving while over the specified drug limit and possession of cocaine.

He was fined £1,200 and must pay a £124 victim surcharge.

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