A DRUG-DRIVER who was 24 times the cocaine limit was told he was 'lucky' not to be going to jail as he was handed a four-year ban.

Derry Hayton, 27, had been driving a Nissan Juke in Workington in the early hours of July 14 when police noticed his vehicle had a defective brake light.

Police turned their vehicle round to stop Hayton, who then drove at speeds of 50mph in a 30mph zone, Workington Magistrates’ Court heard.

Pamela Fee, prosecuting, said the officer had to drive at excessive speed to catch up with the defendant. When the officer caught up with the vehicle, he saw a male get out and Hayton moved over to the passenger seat.

Hayton was ‘pushing the passenger out of the door’ and ‘was trying to suggest he was not the driver’, the court heard.

A drugs wipe was positive for cocaine and cannabis. Samples taken at the police station showed Hayton had 244mcg of cocaine per litre of blood. The limit is 10mcg.

Hayton was below the legal limit for cannabis.

Ms Fee said there had been an ‘unacceptable standard of driving’, going 20mph over the speed limit while carrying a passenger.

The court heard that Hayton, of Dowbeck Road, Carlisle, had previously been convicted of drug-driving in July 2020.

Hayton pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit and using a motor vehicle on a road without insurance.  

Claire Kirkpatrick, defending, said: “His father died five years ago. Since then he has taken a number of wrong choices. He has lost his job due to mental health reasons.

“He accepts how serious the offences are. Since August, he has come off all drugs. He has gone back to employment and is working full time.

“The driving wasn’t great. There was no one else put in danger.  

“He knows he will get a lengthy ban. His biggest concern is what you do today. The prisons are full. We know that at the moment. If he carries on like this, he knows exactly where he is going.”

Magistrates imposed a 10-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. Hayton was disqualified from driving for 48 months.

He must complete 80 hours of unpaid work and 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £154 victim surcharge.

Heather Jackson-Stuttard, chair of the magistrates, told the defendant: “You are very lucky today. You could have been going to custody. You have got an opportunity to get your life in order.”