Man who drove 40 yards outside Glastonbury Festival after smoking 'a little spliff' banned for 12 months

Louis Bird admitted he had been smoking cannabis before driving after leaving Glastonbury Festival
Louis Bird admitted he had been smoking cannabis before driving after leaving Glastonbury Festival (Image: Getty Images)

Louis Bird fell foul of the law after leaving Worthy Farm

A man who was caught by police drug driving after moving his car just 40 yards down the road was given a 12-month ban despite trying to argue special reasons not to disqualify him.

Louis Bird had gone to Glastonbury Festival and arranged for a friend to pick him up and she left the vehicle on the side of the road to go and get him.

When they emerged from the site he had an exchange of words with a security guard outside who had an issue with him blocking the road and when police arrived at the scene they smelt cannabis and he was found over the limit.

When he appeared before Somerset Magistrates’ Court in Yeovil he admitted he had smoked “a little spliff”, but admitted the offence he asked them to consider not disqualifying him from driving as it had involved such a short distance driven.

The 31-year-old defendant, of St Domingo Grove, Anfield, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle on Pylle Lane, Pylle, on July 1 when the proportion of a controlled drug exceeded the specified limit. He also admitted being in possession of a quantity of cannabis.

Prosecutor Christine Hart said Mark Birch was working as a security guard covering Glastonbury Festival last year when he saw a female pull up in a layby near a road closure in Pylle Lane.

“She walked towards the site and returned with the defendant and the car was turned around but due to the road being closed Mr Birch asked the driver to move it,” she said.

“There was a slight exchange of words and the vehicle was then moved by the defendant who reversed it into a driveway and drove into a layby.

“As he did so the police attended and spoke to the security guard who told them there was an issue with the defendant parking where he should not have been.

“The officers went over and spoke with Bird and because they could smell cannabis they searched the car and found a quantity of the drug inside and also did a drugs swipe test on him which was positive.”

The court was told the defence had requested a hearing to argue special reasons why the defendant should not be banned from driving.

Giving evidence from the witness box, Bird said he had only driven around 40 yards and was on the road for an estimated 20 seconds.

He said he had gone to the festival with two other friends, one of whom was the designated driver but he was not there when the police arrived.

He said: “We didn’t drink at all but I’m not going to lie, I had a little spliff.”

When cross examined by Miss Hart she suggested that he had intended to drive all the way home to Liverpool and when asked why he hadn’t brought his friend with him to court he replied that he “couldn’t ask it of him”.

“I just thought I would turn the car around, honestly I don’t know why I did it,” he said.

Louis Bird had attended Glastonbury Festival (Image: Getty Images)

Defending, Derek Perry said that there could scarcely be a shorter distance than this to have driven adding that there was nothing wrong with the state of his driving that had given concern.

“This is a man who has been quite candid and who got into the car and turned it around in full view of the police,” he said.

“When the police came along he thought they were coming to reinforce the order of the security guards so he thought he had better move it, which is ironically what he got into trouble for.

“It was only a very small amount of time he was on the carriageway and it comes down to an unusual set of circumstances, which in the overwhelming amount of cases would have gone nowhere at all.”

Although the defendant said that there were not many cars on the road at the time due to it being 1am, police bodycam footage showed a number of cars passing by during the one minute clip.

Miss Hart said: “In that very short clip there were a number of cars, and although it was in the early hours of the morning, it was the Glastonbury Festival.

“And the reason he was asked to move the car was that there was a danger from fast-moving traffic.

“There was a danger at one time when he could have come into contact with members of the public or thespians.”

The magistrates did not find special reasons not to disqualify Bird saying that while they accepted he had no intention of driving more than the short distance undertaken, they did not accept that he could not have come into contact with other road users.

For drug driving they imposed a 12-month driving ban and fined him £519 with £85 costs and a £52 victim surcharge.

For possession of cannabis they gave him a 12-month conditional discharge ad made an order to destroy the cannabis seized by the police.