WHEN police could smell cannabis coming from a Chard man’s car he confessed that he had smoked some just half an hour before getting behind the wheel.

Officers were on patrol when they spotted Marcelo Samuel Goncalves Rodrigues’ car driving along Forton Road with one of the headlights not working.

After he admitted taking drugs he was told to take a roadside drugs test which he failed, Somerset Magistrates were told.

The 31-year-old defendant, of Ashcroft, pleaded guilty to driving a Honda vehicle in Chard on August 1 when the proportion of a controlled drug, namely Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinoid, was 6mcg per litre of blood which exceeded the specified limit. He also admitted being in possession of 0.79g of cannabis.

Emma Lenanton, prosecuting, said that the police were on patrol in Chard at 9.40pm when they saw a Honda Civic with the front passenger headlight completely out.

“They stopped the car and the defendant identified himself as the driver and the officers could smell cannabis coming from within the vehicle,” she said.

“They asked if he had any left and he admitted he did and gave them a small foil wrap. He then failed a roadside drugs test and was arrested.”

A blood sample was taken at the police station which produced a reading of 6mcg of the drug per litre of blood when the limit is 2mcg.

Defending solicitor Greg Peters said that Rodrigues admitted the offences during interview with the police.

“Even when he was stopped at the roadside he immediately handed over the drug to the officer and said he had smoked cannabis just half an hour before driving, he said.

“He was stopped due to a faulty headlight and there is no suggestion that his driving was impaired or any evidence of unacceptable driving.”

He said that Rodrigues was a self-employed mobile mechanic and the loss of his licence would have a catastrophic and profound impact upon him.

For the drug driving the magistrates banned the defendant from driving for 12 months and fined him £300.

They did not impose a penalty for the possession of cannabis but ordered the drug to be destroyed and also imposed costs of £85 and a £30 victim surcharge.