A DRUGGED-up Barrow driver swerved along the A595 after downing 50 prescription tablets in less than three hours.

Ciaran Michael Light, 22, was told by a judge that only “pure good fortune” meant no crash had occurred during criminal conduct last winter.

Prosecutor Colette Renton told Carlisle Crown Court how Light’s Citroen Picasso came to the attention of other motorists while driving away from Barrow on the A595 just before midnight on December 13.

A witness saw Light’s Picasso being driven “extremely poorly”.

“The manner of that driving included struggling to get into gear, swerving from side to side in the road, straying on to verges and crossing over on to the other side of the road,” said Ms Renton.

“Randomly varying speeds”, were also reported to police, who began to follow the Picasso. A head-on collision with another vehicle was “narrowly avoided”.

Police illuminated blue lights and pulled him over. He gave a negative breath reading, but “appeared to be under the influence of some sort of substance”, said Ms Renton. “He told police ‘your drug tests won’t show what I have taken’.”

It emerged he had consumed 50 diazepam tablets, not prescribed for him, since 9pm.

Light, of Egerton Court, Barrow, admitted dangerous driving, having no insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with his licence, and having two tyres with insufficient tread.

Joshua Bowker, defending, told how a “combination of medication, ill health and suffering from stress all came together in a perfect storm” that night.

Light had seen driving as a “means of escape” from personal problems, but accepted this was “something he should not be doing”.

Judge James Adkin jailed Light for nine months, and ordered him to complete a 12-month driving ban when released.

Judge Adkin said: “Driving at that speed, so poorly, in winter and so intoxicated, it is pure good fortune that another car didn’t hit you or you hit them.”