A YOUNG Carlisle man has been given an 18-month ban after he pleaded guilty to an offence of drug-driving.

The city’s Rickergate Magistrates’ Court heard how Matthew Michael Etheridge, 19, got into trouble after police saw him drive through a red light in Lowther Street, Carlisle, on February 8.

Prosecutor John Moran said a roadside drugs test proved positive and a later analysis showed that Etheridge, of Knowe Road, Stanwix, had more than 12 times the legal limit of a cocaine breakdown product in his system at the time he was stopped.

He pleaded guilty to driving while over the limit for that product, known as benzoylecgonine.

A test also showed traces of cannabis, but at such a low level that it did not break the law.

John Smith, for Etheridge, said the defendant had cooperated fully with the police. “He’s not been difficult at all,” said the lawyer.

Passing sentence, presiding magistrate Kevin Wilderspin told the teenager: “It’s very much a wake-up call.”

He told Etheridge that such illegal drugs remain in the body for a long time after they are taken and as result many young drivers ended up before the court. Etheridge was also fined £350, and told that he must pay £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.