A VAN driver caught drug driving on a motorway told a court he had been smoking cannabis since the age of 14.

Barrow man Stephen Armstrong was driving on the M6 when he was stopped by police because of a fault with his car.

Appearing nervous when spoken to by police, he underwent a roadside drug test that proved positive for cannabis, a class B drug, a court was told.

The 42-year-old admitted drug driving when he appeared in the dock at South Cumbria Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutor Peter Kelly described how Armstrong was stopped while driving his Ford Transit van near Junction 38 close to Penrith on the motorway on January 12.

He said: "The officer noticed the vehicle because there was an issue with the licence plate.

"The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke to the defendant.

"He appeared nervous and as a result of that he did conduct a drugs wipe that tested positive for cannabis."

He was taken into custody where he recorded another test that was over the legal threshold for THC, magistrates were told.

The court heard the defendant was convicted of failing to provide a blood specimen to police on March 18.

Armstrong opened up on the offence and his circumstances, telling magistrates he believed he had been stopped because his number plate was not lit up properly.

Representing himself, Armstong described his drug use and his effort to stop, saying: "I've smoked since I was about 14 years old and I'm currently coming off it.

"I've cut down, not a lot, but compared to what I was doing I've cut down dramatically.

"I apologise for my behaviour."

He said he had undergone hypnotherapy in an effort to cut back.

Sentencing him, magistrates said it was aggravated by the further offence he committed while on bail. 

Armstrong, of Goldsmith Street, was sentenced to a community order requiring him to stay at home under curfew between 7pm and 7am for four weeks.

Magistrates also handed down a 36-month driving ban and warned him not to get behind the wheel of a car for that period.