A MAN who was caught smoking a joint in his car during his lunch break has been banned from driving.

Gordon Irvine appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on January 11 after pleading guilty to being over the prescribed limit of THC – found in cannabis – having possession of a controlled drug in his vehicle, and driving without a full licence.

Procurator fiscal Rebecca Reid told the hearing that on December 18 last year, cops stopped a vehicle on Renton Road in Dumbarton after noticing a strong smell of cannabis.

Police searched the vehicle to find 0.8 grams of cannabis. Irvine was found to have seven microgrammes of THC per litre of blood. The legal limit for the specified drug is two microgrammes per litre of blood.

Ms Reid said that police claim that there was “no noticeable affect on the driver”.

Sheriff William Gallacher interrupted: “That’s not what I am interested in. I want someone whose qualified. I don’t want an opinion. That doesn’t help me.”

The 42-year-old was also found with only a provisional driving licence.

His defence solicitor Leo McGinn said: “He understands his position. He was sitting at lunchtime with a colleague and smoked. He uses cannabis on a daily basis which is something he is proceeding to regulate himself.”

Sheriff Gallacher said: “I also have a concern if his level of THC exceeds the prescribed limit when all he has done is smoked something at lunchtime can he ever drive?

“Cannabis remains in the system for a long time and if Mr Irvine is at a level on what he smokes and tops up from time to time maybe he should not own a car.”

Mr McGinn said that the impact of the drug has affected his client negatively.

He said: “At the moment he is in a position where he shouldn’t be driving, but in the future he would be in the position to drive.

“He has accepted that has had an impact on his mental health and that has lead to him currently not working.”

Addressing Irvine, of Braehead, Ayrshire, the sheriff said: “I am concerned at your age at the level of the cannabis frequency and misuse. It is not a straightforward thing because it is not alcohol.

“It causes harm not least because it is illegal but because it causes a psychological affect particularly on mental health on young men. I know that because I see the manifestation of the behaviour over the year.”

The sheriff placed Irvine on a community payback order under 12 months of social work supervision. He was also disqualified for driving or obtaining a licence for a year.