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Court told police suspected driver in Lidl car park had inhaled ‘volatile substances’

Defendant had to be taken to hospital after becoming unwell

Police suspected a man found behind the wheel of a vehicle in Lidl store car park of having inhaled “volatile substances”.

And a three month driving ban was handed down on Wednesday to Christopher Foster, of Dromore.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to using a vehicle without insurance and being in charge of a vehicle whilst unfit through drink or drugs.

Craigavon Magistrates’Court was told on Wednesday that the incident occurred on September 9 last year, at the car park of the Lidl store on the Armagh Road, Portadown.

Police approached a Vauxhall Cascada which was in the car park to speak to defendant.

Officers noted a bag of air fresheners and a black bin back on the passenger seat.

As they spoke to the defendant police noted that Foster’s speech was served and suspected he may have inhaled the solvents.

A vehicle check showed that the car was not insured but the defendant was confident that he did have a valid policy.

Shortly after this Foster was taken to hospital as he became unwell.

Whilst there, police ordered for blood to be taken. Some prescription drugs were detected but there was no trace of volatile substances at that time.

Further insurance checks showed the insurance policy had been cancelled on September 1 due to no-payment.

The prosecution explained that the drugs charge was based on the observations of police alone.

Defence counsel stated that there had been “no detection of volatile substances”, but Foster was entering a plea of guilty.

The defence said the action he carried out with air fresheners had been “something he and his friends had experienced within their teenage years”.

Court also heard Foster had recently been offered a job as a dental technician.

Defence counsel said the defendant “realised there was a certain inevitability about today and understood he would have to rely on public transport”.

Foster was disqualified from driving for three months and ordered to pay a fine of £550, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

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