A DRUG driver caught seven times over the limit was given a temporary ban and fined after being pulled over by the police.

Imre Kovacs, 37, pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence with 386 microgrammes of benzoylecgonine [cocaine] per litre of blood – exceeding the limit of 50 – in Ladysmith Road, Kilbirnie, on November 16 last year.

Not guilty pleas to two charges of possessing cocaine and cannabis were accepted by prosecutors when the Kilbirnie man appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last Thursday.

The procurator fiscal said: “Police officers were on operational patrol in the area when their attention was drawn to a motor vehicle travelling directly in front.

“They stopped the vehicle. While speaking to the accused there was a smell they thought was cannabis which he had admitted smoked day before.

“He provided a sample of saliva in a roadside drug test. The result indicated he was over the limit as described and was arrested and taken to Saltcoats Police Station. A sample of blood was obtained – my Lordship see’s the result.”

The sheriff asked: “Have I got this right seven times over the limit?”

Solicitor Neil McPherson, defending, told the court his client took the matter seriously however added some drugs stay in the system a lot longer than alcohol.

He added: “Mr Kovacs is a married man with a child and has been living here a long time. He is working self employed as a builder.

“He didn’t realise the affect it would have and the level still in his system. Losing his licence would have a particular bad affect on his employment. He has never come before court before. He takes the matter seriously.

“Cannabis and some other drugs remain much longer in the system, I’ve no experience myself.”

However, “in view of the high reading” the sheriff disqualified Kovacs, of Lindsay Avenue, from driving for 14 months. He was also ordered to pay a £400 fine plus a £20 victim surcharge payment.