A REPORTER has been banned from driving after admitting driving while under the influence of cocaine.

Amy Robertson, who works for The Mail under her maiden name of Amy Fenton, appeared at Workington’s magistrates’ court yesterday morning where she admitted drug-driving and a second charge of possession of cocaine.

The 35-year-old, of Broughton Road, Dalton, was tearful as the court heard how she had been pulled over by police while travelling on the M6 northbound, near to junction 36, on March 6.

Prosecutor Pamela Fee told the court that police spotted Robertson’s Alfa Romeo driving in excess of the 70mph speed limit - recording speeds of up to 85mph.

“As a result of the manner of the driving, officers signalled the vehicle to pull over,” she told the court. “The driver and only occupant was the defendant.

“As a result of the demeanour of the defendant, a roadside drugs wipe was conducted and this showed a positive result for cocaine.”

While searching the vehicle three wraps of cocaine were found in the passenger footwell, as well as a laptop computer which showed evidence of cocaine use.

A subsequent blood test at Kendal police station found Robertson had 13ugl of cocaine per litre of blood. The legal limit is 10ugl.

Magistrates were told that Robertson admitted to the occasional personal use of cocaine - “a couple of lines a week, usually with friends” - and the wraps found in her vehicle must have been left over from one such occasion.

She could not explain why there was cocaine in her system that day, but accepted she “must have taken it recently”.

Mrs Fee told the court that Robertson’s mother had died in December 2018.

“Her mum had lung cancer and [the defendant] was the sole carer,” the prosecutor continued. “The pressure led to her using cocaine just to keep awake.”

During her police interview, Robertson accepted she had previously given police her ex-husband’s address as she was still registered there. At the time she was living with her then-partner.

A third charge, of driving while under the influence of benzoylecgonine, had been formally withdrawn.

The court was told Robertson was of previous good character, with only one previous matter of relevance on her record: a drink-driving conviction from 2007.

All reporters attended the hearing via video link, because of social distancing rules. Robertson defended herself but there was no microphone in the dock.

Presiding magistrate Kevin Wilderspin told Robertson that the starting point for drug-driving sentencing was a fine and a 12 to 22 month driving ban.

“You are remorseful, you have no recent relevant convictions and with your personal circumstances, I am imposing a 12-month disqualification,” he said.

Robertson was also fined £323 for the drug driving offence, and a further £50 for the possession charge. She was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

All journalists attended the hearing via video link.