Two-year road ban and unpaid work for woman caught drug-driving

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

A Suffolk woman has been banned from the road for two years and ordered to carry out community service after being caught drug-driving on the A14.

Poppy Paul appeared before magistrates in Ipswich on Tuesday to be sentenced for driving while over the prescribed limit for cocaine and cannabis derivatives.

The 29-year-old, from Brundish, near Framlingham, was pulled over in a red Range Rover Evoque – based on intelligence that the driver was under the influence – in a lay-by of the A14 just west of Risby.

Paul was stopped by a roads police officer at about 4.40pm on October 20 last year.

A drug wipe test proved positive and Paul was arrested.

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Laboratory tests then returned positive readings for the cocaine derivative benzoylecgonine and the primary psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – both of which can remain in the system for days after consumption.

The tests showed that Paul was driving with 400 microgrammes of benzoylecgonine per litre of blood – the legal limit being 50mcg – and with 5.8mcg of Delta-9-THC per litre of blood – the legal limit being two.

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Paul was found guilty in absence when she failed to appear at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court for a hearing last month.

It was the second occasion she had failed to appear for the hearing, which had already been adjourned from its first listing on February 19.

Sentencing magistrates heard that Paul had no previous criminal convictions to her name.

Solicitor Edmund Gritt said that, as a single mother living in a rural area, Paul was “very dependent” on her vehicle.

He said Paul had not taken drugs on the day of the offence, but that the indicators of drug use had remained in her system.

“There was no suggestion of any impaired or unacceptable driving,” he added.

The court heard that Paul was remorseful, had stopped using cocaine, reduced her use of cannabis, and was seeking drug counselling.

Mr Gritt argued that Paul had not received letters summoning her to court on the two previous occasions, and that she learned of her conviction in the press.

Paul was banned for 24 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

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