Repeat drug driver walks three-and-a-half hours to appear in court

A repeat drug-driver has been handed another ban — after a three-and-a-half hour walk to face the music at court.

Shaun Ruddick, 50, was initially handed a disqualification last month for a crime which he committed near Penrith on the evening of May 20. He was over the legal limit for a cocaine breakdown product while behind the wheel of a Ford Focus.

But just a week later, on May 27, he had come to the attention of the police again. It was reported that a man at Tesco on Carlisle’s Warwick Road appeared to be under the influence and was struggling to refuel his vehicle.

Officers stopped Ruddick in a Ford Focus on Eastern Way. When he left his vehicle, he appeared unsteady on his feet and intoxicated. Three attempts to take a blood sample from Ruddick failed. When a urine sample was analyzed it showed the presence of a cocaine metabolite, along with morphine, codeine and the main psychoactive compound of cannabis.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court today, Ruddick admitted being unfit to drive through drugs on that occasion. He also admitted a second charge, of drug-driving, following another similar incident, on the evening of July 26 on the northbound area of ​​Southwaite services, off the M6.

A police officer was approached by a member of the public who reported a vehicle engine running and that a man — Ruddick — appeared off his head. Keys were removed from the ignition of a car he said he had driven to get milk.

Tests showed he was over the legal limit for a cocaine breakdown product.

The court heard he was sentenced in 2017 for being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drugs.

Kate Hunter, defending, told the court Ruddick lived in the middle of nowhere. “He has to walk. He has walked to court this morning,” said Ms Hunter, “three-and-a-half hours to enter his plea.”

Because Ruddick had never worked with the probation service before, District Judge John Temperley imposed a 12-month community order. This includes rehabilitation and a 16-week night time curfew. Ruddick was banned from driving for three years. “You need to leave here today with the clear understanding that driving while under the influence of drugs has got to stop,” said the district judge.

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