A PAINTER used cannabis to help him sleep during a difficult time, a court has heard.

Shaun Michael Richards admitted drug-driving when he appeared before magistrates in Hereford.

Richards was pulled over in Belmont Road at 9.48am on April 13 after police noticed a defective rear light on his Renault Trafic van," prosecutor Ralph Robyns Landricombe said.

When officers spoke to Richards they noticed he was pale and had dilated pupils, and he was arrested after failing a roadside drug test.

An evidential test in custody revealed he had 2.6 microgrammes of cannabis metabolite delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per litre of blood. The legal limit is two.

Philip Cornell, for Richards, said the 39-year-old painter and decorator had enjoyed a very successful year before coronavirus but that the last year had been very bad for him as there was not much work about.

"Then various dreadful things happened to him and he could not sleep. Last February a friend said he should try some cannabis, and for about six weeks he did. It worked and he could sleep.

"He did not buy it but was given it. He would eat or smoke some at night and it helped him through this difficult patch, but then he got caught.

"It is unlikely that any doctor would put their neck on the block for using it, but he was desperate at the time."

Richards, of Turner Street, Hereford, was disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined £280. He must also pay costs of £135 and a £34 victim surcharge.