Driver spotted by police swerving on A19 found to have drugs in his system

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A drugged driver was caught after police saw his car swerve and hit a kerb on a dual carriageway.

Anthony Orpen was driving his Ford Focus on the southbound carriageway of the A19 towards Middlesbrough when he attracted the attention of a traffic patrol, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Teesside Magistrates' Court

Teesside Magistrates' Court

“They noticed the car weaving and saw it hitting a kerb,” said Paul Power, prosecuting.

“The officers indicated for Orpen to pull over, and when they spoke to him it was apparent to them he was under the influence of something,

“A swipe test for drugs at the roadside proved positive.

“The officers also saw two small packages in a container in the footwell of the car.

“These were late analysed and found to be a small quantity of heroin.”

Mr Power said Orpen conceded to police he had taken ‘a couple of lines’ of cocaine the night before, but felt he was fit to drive when he did so the following afternoon.

Orpen, 32, of Church Road, Trimdon Village, admitted driving while unfit through drugs, and possession of a class A drug, both on August 1.

He has previous convictions for offences of dishonesty and resisting arrest.

Stephen Hamill, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Orpen says there were other distractions in the car which caused his erratic driving,

“He admits the offence, but his level of impairment from the drugs was low, which I submit is relevant to the level of sentence.

“Mr Orpen was due to start a job, but the inevitable loss of his licence means that will not now be possible.”

District Judge Kathryn Meek sentenced Orpen to a community order of nine months, including 10 days of rehabilitation activity, fines and costs of £220, and a driving ban of 18 months.

The judge told Orpen: “When you take to the roads you have a responsibility to yourself and other road users to drive safely.

“You cannot adequately discharge that responsibility if you have drugs in your system.”

The fines and costs will be deducted weekly from Orpen’s benefits.