Suspected Derbyshire drug-driver is banned from the road after he refused a blood test

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A suspected motoring offender has narrowly been spared from prison after he failed to provide a blood specimen during a drug-drive test.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on September 11 how Ben Thomas John Whetton, 27, of Victoria Drive, Blackwell, Alfreton, was checked after he had been driving slowly in the centre of a road and clipped a kerb.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “It was around 11.30pm, on August 16, when a police officer was on patrol in Pinxton and saw a Vauxhall Astra driving slowly in the centre of the road.

“The vehicle’s details were checked and it pulled sharply to the offside and clipped a kerb and came to a stop.”

Mrs Allsop added that the officer spoke to Whetton and he said he had no insurance and no licence and he was very nervous and unable to stand still.

The officer was suspicious Whetton may be under the influence of drugs, according to Mrs Allsop, but the defendant refused to take a roadside swipe test.

Mrs Allsop added that at the police station Whetton also refused to provide a specimen of blood for analysis but he did tell police that he had smoked cannabis.

Whetton, who has a previous conviction for a similar motoring offence, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen of blood and admitted using a vehicle without insurance and without a licence.

Defence solicitor Kirsty Sargent said Whetton had panicked because he had previously smoked cannabis.

Ms Sargent added that Whetton’s mother had died recently and the council asked him to leave the family home and he struggled to cope and began self-medicating with cannabis.

Magistrates sentenced Whetton to 12 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement and a Thinking Skills programme.

Whetton was also banned from driving for 48 months and was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.