A DRUG driver who went the wrong way down a police only sliproad while following his sat nav has had his ban slashed on appeal.

Alister Roberts had already admitted drug driving but successfully challenged the ‘excessive’ length of the 26 month ban when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Friday.

The 44-year-old drove his Hyundai down the police only sliproad at a roundabout off junction 5 (Droitwich) of the M5 and came face-to-face with a police car at around 11pm on August 9 last year.

Olivia Beesley, prosecuting, said the car was spotted on the wrong side of the road by two police officers and on the wrong side of a keep left sign at the roundabout.

Miss Beesley said officers noticed a smell of cannabis, that the appellant’s eyes were glazed and his speech slow.

“He confirmed he has been smoking cannabis earlier that day,” said Miss Beesley.

He failed a roadside drugs test and a later blood test revealed 4.9mg of cannabis in a litre of blood, more than twice the limit of 2mg.

The prosecutor argued that the appellant’s ‘unacceptable driving’ was an aggravating feature. Roberts had 18 previous convictions for 44 offences including for possession of cannabis and dishonesty offences between 1992 and 2003. He has received two previous driving bans, one for taking a car without the owner’s consent (TWOC) in 1993 and another for TWOC and driving without a licence and insurance from 1996.

Glenn Cook, for the appellant, said Roberts had been meeting with friends from a metal detecting club and had brought a tent to stay the night in the area but it had been raining heavily and when he returned his tent was flooded.

Because he suffers from curvature of the spine the appellant took the decision he could not stay in his car and decided to drive home.

Mr Cook said Roberts was following the Sat Nav which told him to bear right but he ‘turned right too early and has effectively gone up a police only slip road the wrong way’.

Mr Cook described how his client put on his hazard lights.

“Unfortunately for him, at the top of this slip road is a police vehicle waiting with lights on,” said Mr Cook who described Roberts as ‘fully co-operative and very apologetic’.

He explained that Roberts of Bishton Grove, Netherton, Dudley, also suffers from ‘severe arthritis’, has had multiple surgeries and is registered disabled. As a result he suffers from ‘significant and very severe pain’ and takes a plethora of medications including morphine, co-codamol, nerve blockers and anti-depressants. Mr Cook described Roberts’s mobility vehicle as his ‘lifeline’ and ‘what gives him his freedom’.

The appellant used cannabis for further ‘pain relief’. Mr Cook argued that the 26 month ban imposed by magistrates was ‘manifestly excessive’.

Judge Nicolas Cartwight, sitting with two magistrates, said they took the view the ban was ‘a bit too long’. They did not overturn the ban but reduced it to 20 months.

“Thank you your Honour” said Roberts before he left court.

No order was made for costs.