A MOTORIST whose speed as he travelled on the M6 near Penrith stayed above 100mph for more than two miles was drug driving.

A police blood test carried out on 44-year-old joiner Lee Roberts, whose BMW at one point reached a top speed of 130mph, confirmed that he was over the limit for a cocaine breakdown product, magistrates heard.

He pleaded guilty to drug driving.

Pam Ward, prosecuting at Carlisle's Rickergate court, described how officers on patrol along the M6 on December 19 last year spotted the defendant’s BMW 1 Series car speeding over a lengthy stretch of road and so they followed him.

They did this for a distance of 2.5miles, said Mrs Ward. “At no point did his vehicle slow down to below 100mph and the highest speed reached was 130mp,” said the prosecutor.

When the officers activated their blue flashing lights, the defendant realised he was being followed and slowed to 70mph. A later blood test confirmed that he had 770mcg of benzoylecgonine in every litre of blood.

The legal limit for driving is 50mcg.

Richard Silver, defending, said Roberts, who has a previous conviction for drink driving, was hard-working man whose behaviour on December 19 had “totally uncharacteristic and out of character.”

He had expressed remorse and learned his lesson.

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At the time of the offence, the defendant was going through a mental health crisis in the form of undiagnosed depression, which had crept on him three years ago after the death of his mother, which badly affected him.

He had spent a lot of money of gambling, accruing a debt of £10,000.

“The officer who stopped him at the scene said the only sign of anything wrong was his dilated pupils. He had no idea he was over the limit.

“He had taken cocaine the night before and the reason he took cocaine was that he was trying to self-medicate at a time when he was not diagnosed,” said the lawyer.

Mr Silver said the defendant’s mental health at one point plunged so low he had tried to take his own life.

But ultimately, that attempt and the prosecution would produce a long term benefit as Roberts had now been diagnosed and was getting help.

Magistrates told Roberts, of Tyldesley, Manchester, that his offence was aggravated by his previous drink driving conviction and his speed.

They fined him £1,538, with a £154 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs. They also imposed the minimum three year driving ban available to the court for drug driving when there was relevant offence within the previous decade.

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