A YOUNG Carlisle motorist tested positive for cannabis and a cocaine by-product – five days after using the two drugs, magistrates heard.

At the city’s Rickergate court, Joel Catterall, 22, who lost his job as a delivery driver because of the offending, pleaded guilty to driving while over the prescribed limit for the drugs on Thursday, September 14 last year.

He was given a 17 month ban and fines and costs totalling £365. Prosecutor George Shelley outlined how the defendant was caught.

Police became involved after a report that two vehicles were driving “at speed” in the city's Wigton Road area. Shortly after 12.50am, the officers stopped the defendant in his VW Polo and noticed his pupils were “extremely large.”

“They suspected he may have been under the influence of drink or drugs,” said Mr Shelley.

A breath test produced a negative result but a drugs swipe test indicated the presence of cannabis and cocaine products in Catterall’s system, said the prosecutor.

A later blood test confirmed that the active ingredient of cannabis was present at just over three times the permitted limit while a cocaine breakdown product was in his blood at just over seven times the legal limit.

The defendant, of Flower Street, Carlisle, has no previous offences on his record.

Duncan Campbell, defending, confirmed that Catterall had already lost his job as a supermarket delivery driver because of the prosecution.

There was no suggestion, said the lawyer, that the defendant was racing another car, though he had swerved to avoid a puddle on the road.

Mr Cambell said: “As far as the presence of the drugs, it’s all a bit of a mystery to some people. As far as alcohol is concerned, there is a reasonable fixed formulae for how quickly people can process and metabolise it, though even that is not guaranteed.

“Some people metabilise it more slowly or more quickly. There’s no such system as far as drugs are concerned.

"He'd taken drugs and I don’t think he knew the nature of the drugs but it was on Saturday and we’re talking here about Thursday. When stopped, he knew he’d taken drugs on the Saturday but believed they’d be fully out of his system.”

There was no question that Catterall regularly abused drugs, said the lawyer.

The defendant had simply been experimenting with those substances. He now lived with his parents and was on benefits. Magistrates imposed a fine of £200, costs of £85 and an £80 surcharge.