A KNIGHTON man described how he had endured the “hardest months of his life” leading up to an arrest for drug driving.

Kristian Rigby, 28, went through a relationship break-up, lost his job due to the Covid-19 pandemic and discovered his grandfather was terminally ill prior to being pulled over by police with cocaine in his system days before Christmas last year.

At Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on Wednesday, June 9, Rigby pleaded guilty to two charges of drug driving on the A4113 near Knighton on December 17.

Prosecutor Stephen Davies said Rigby, of Radnor Drive, was stopped at around 7.55pm approaching the Radnorshire town.

“PC Shane Atkin was on duty. He witnessed a grey Vauxhall Corsa travelling along the A4113 towards Knighton and the driver was detained for a search, as it was believed he may be under the influence of drugs,” said Mr Davies.

Roadside drug swipes proved positive, with further tests discovering Rigby had 667 micrograms of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in his blood, the legal limit being 50mcg. Rigby also had 21mcgs of cocaine in his blood, the legal limit being 10mcgs.

Mr Davies said Rigby had previously been banned for drink driving in 2016.

Gareth Walters, acting for Rigby, said his client showed no evidence of bad driving and that the police were interested in the other person travelling in the vehicle with him.

He said: “The defendant describes the months leading up to this offence as the hardest of his life.”

“He lost his job due to Covid, he found out his grandfather was terminally ill and there was the break-up of a four-year relationship.

“He had drugs in his system but he felt fine, although he accepts he shouldn’t have driven.”

Mr Walters said Rigby had since found another job, working as a factory operative, and he provided proof via a letter from a recruitment agency. “This employment may well now be in jeopardy due to these offences,” added Mr Walters.

“The defendant is very well aware of that as well as the fact that there is no course available for drug driving. He knows he is facing three-year mandatory ban.”

Geraint Evans, chair of the bench, told Rigby: “There is no way around the guidelines.”

Magistrates disqualified Rigby from driving for three years for charge one.

They ordered no separate penalty for charge two.

He was also fined £320 and must pay a £34 surcharge, as well as £85 costs.