A SELF-EMPLOYED mechanic who worked on vehicles at Cumbrian farms was caught drug driving when police stopped his car because it had a noisy exhaust pipe.

Liam Mason, 25, who has helped care for his siblings after his father died from Covid during the pandemic, recently became bankrupt and the inevitable driving ban he faces will ruin his chances of a financial recovery, magistrates heard.

Mason, from Dam Muse Road, Castle Carrock, near Brampton, admitted driving while over the prescribed limit for cannabis.

Prosecutor George Shelley said the defendant was stopped in his VW Golf as he drove along Beacon Edge, Penrith, on September 5 last year because there was “excessive noise” coming from his vehicle’s exhaust pipe. 

When the officers spoke to him, they noticed a smell of cannabis and decided to carry out a roadside drugs test.

The result showed that Mason was just over four times the legal limit for the drug’s active ingredients.

Chris Toms, defending, said the defendant had last smoked the drug three days earlier at the weekend, not appreciating that it would remain in his system for so long.

In recement weeks, the defendant had been finalising his bankruptcy.

The lawyer said: “He’s a self-employed, mobile mechanic; he has a three-and-a-half-ton transit van with equipment and he drives from farm to farm to do that in the immediate area. But he will lose his job as a result of his guilty plea today.

"He will be unemployed.”

Mr Toms went on to outline the personal challenges that the defendant had faced in recent years, including the support he gave to his family – his mother and three siblings - following the death of his father.

Because of the pressure he was under, said Mr Toms, Mason had smoked cannabis, having been introduced to the drug by friends.

Mr Toms added: “This is a young man with enormous problems. He does need to work and will have to find work which does not involved driving.”

The lawyer handed the court character references.

Magistrates said that they noted the defendant’s personal challenges and they wanted to be “as generous” as they could be with their sentencing.

They fined the defendant £120, with a £48 victim surcharge and prosecution costs of £85 and imposed the minimum ban of 12 months.