Dozens of drug drivers throughout Ceredigion are making their way through courts, racking up bans and fines after getting behind the wheel while under the influence and putting lives in the county at risk.

Following a series of crackdowns from police who remain “concerned” at the level of such offences in the county, scores of drug drivers are being sent before magistrates in the county, with Dyfed-Powys Police determined to get offenders off the road.

Campaigns and equipment trials in the last few months of 2022 and into 2023 have led to dozens of prosecutions, with Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Haverfordwest courts dealing with several drug driving offences each week since the turn of the year.

In February alone, Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court dealt with 21 drug drivers.

A relatively new law in 2015 outlined the drug driving offence, previously police had to prove that the driver was impaired by any substance.

The new law made it an offence to have a range of substances in a driver’s system above a specified limit.


The number of drug driving arrests made by North Wales Police during 2022

Data shows that drug driving offences have risen year on year since the law was introduced as part of a “zero tolerance” approach.

The Crown Prosecution Service in its guidance says “there is a very clear public interest in prosecuting drug driving offences, due to the danger posed to others by such behaviour.”

A two-month trial just before Christmas saw 32 people arrested in Aberystwyth.

The trial saw drug swipe kits given to response officers allowing them to test drivers for traces of drugs at collisions and during intelligence-led vehicle stops.

The kits had until then been used by roads policing units, but trial aimed to extend roadside testing to identify and prosecute drug drivers, which, police said would “in turn increase road safety.”

The operation saw 25 arrests for drug driving following 86 stop searches.

More than 60 roadside drug wipes were administered, with cannabis being by far the most prevalent drug found.


The number of people caught in Aberystwyth before Christmas when police used new swipe test kits

Ceredigion Superintendent Ross Evans said: “We are concerned at the number of drivers being arrested in the county while under the influence of drugs.

“We are working hard to deter this type of crime, and by issuing these kits to local officers we are making a concentrated effort to locate and test drivers we suspect are driving illegally.

“Any drivers that are caught will be prosecuted.

“I can reassure the public that we are taking this issue seriously and I encourage anyone with information or concerns to contact us.”

Police also said that the campaigns and operations would target re-offenders, with 18 of those arrested during the Aberystwyth trial being repeat offenders.

Sergeant Adam Hodgkinson said: “We are also working hard to try and break the cycle of reoffending and in an effort to help the people identified as experiencing drugs issues six people have been referred to the diversionary scheme to speak with a support worker, and three others have been referred to the Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service following positive drug tests on arrest for class A substances.”

There have been nine referrals made to the Diversionary Scheme following positive searches and four referrals to DDAS following positive drug tests on arrest.

Police said the kit trial “has given selected officers the advantage to deal with drug drivers with the required tools and training.”

Every single driver arrested has been reported to the DVLA through the Op Revoke scheme, this includes provisional and non-licence holders to highlight their drug use.


drug drivers were nabbed by Dyfed-Powys Police in a campaign during the 2022 World Cup

Dyfed-Powys Police’s annual Drink and Drug Drive campaign was kicked off earlier last year to boost awareness during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with the 2021 campaign seeing 202 drug drivers caught throughout Dyfed-Powys.

Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Stuart Bell said: “Officers from the Roads Policing Units, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Special Constabulary will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs should know that we will be out and about waiting for them.”

More than a dozen arrests were made in Gwynedd over the period of a similar crackdown on drug driving by North Wales Police.

The annual drink and drug driving campaign, which ran from 1 December 2022 to 1 January 2023, saw 90 arrests for drug-driving across the force region.

Illegal drugs

It’s an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood.

The list includes the illegal drugs:

• Benzoylecgonine (cocaine)

• Cocaine

• Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis and cannabinol)

• Ketamine


• Methylamphetamine

• MDMA (ecstasy)

• Heroin and diamorphine

Prescription drugs on the list are:

• Clonazepam (used to treat seizures and panic disorder)

• Diazepam (anti-anxiety)

• Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol - sedative)

• Lorazepam (anti-anxiety)

• Methadone (heroin substitute)

• Morphine (pain relief)

• Oxazepam (anti-anxiety)

• Temazepam (anti-anxiety and sedative)

• Amphetamines

Sergeant Liam Morris of the Roads Policing Unit said: “Driving whilst under the influence is not only a criminal offence but it is also completely unacceptable and selfish act which puts lives of innocent road users at risk.

“The consequences are huge, not only does it risk death or serious injury but think about the potential loss of your career, home and family life.

“Despite our repeated warnings it is disappointing that people are still choosing to risk their own lives and the lives of other road users by taking to the roads whilst under the influence.

“Drugs affect your mind and body in a variety of ways that mean you can’t drive safely.

“When your ability to drive is impaired the chances of you being involved in a collision significantly increase.

“The effects can last for hours or even days.

“Driving while under the influence of drugs can lead to slower reaction times, poor concentration, confusion, fatigue, being over confident which means you take unnecessary risks and demonstrate erratic behaviour.

“All of which attract the attention of patrolling officers who are out looking for these behaviours.”

Throughout 2022 North Wales Police made 272 drug drive arrests.

Crime and punishment

Since the North Wales Police campaign over the festive period, no drug drive offences from the Dwyfor Meirionnydd area have appeared before Caernarfon Magistrates’ Court in 2023, but roadside drug swipes need to be verified by laboratory specimens, which can cause delays in prosecution.

Police Roadside Stop Search stock.jpg
Police campaigns have been used to target drug driving in peak periods (File photo)

The following prosecutions were secured in the Dyfed-Powys policing area recently:

♦ Who: 54-year-old Helen Jones, of 8 Arosfa, Morgan Street, Cardigan

Where: The A475 at Llandyfriog

When: 18 October 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120.

♦ Who: 30-year-old Daniel Massey, of Pwllglas, Nebo

Where: The A482 at Temple Bar

When: 29 October last year

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: Three years

Fine: £346.

♦ Who: 19-year-old Adam Evans, of 4 Y Wenallt, Cwm Cou

Where: A484 in Cardigan

When: 28 October and 7 September 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 24 months

Fine: £400.

♦ Who: 59-year-old Andrew White, of Tygwyn, Heol Elenydd, Devils Bridge.

Where: North Parade, Aberystwyth

When: 24 May last year

Drug: n/a - unfit through drugs

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120.

♦ Who: 20-year-old Joel Evans, of Tegfan, Talsarn

Where: The B4343 at Tregaron

When: 26 October last year

Drug: Cannabis.

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 27-year-old Gethin Davies, of Glantren Fawr, Gwrdy Mawr, Llanybydder

Where: The A485 between Lampeter and Llanybydder

When: o8 September last year

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: Three years

Fine: £123

♦ Who: 60-year-old Phillip Harries, of The Caravan, Dragons Yard, Gwbert Road, Cardigan.

Where: Llechryd and the A484 at Cardigan

When: On 8 October 2022 and 27 September last year

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: 24 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 20-year-old Ryan Matthews, of 71 Brongwinau, Comins Coch

Where: The A487 at Bow Street

When: 17 October last year

Drug: Cocaine and ketamine

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £300.

♦ Who: 27-year-old Miles Ames, of Llwyn Silio, Llwyndafydd, Llandysul

Where: Bridge Street in Lampeter

When: 18 October last year

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: Three years

Fine: £120.

♦ Who: 35-year-old Michael Cutler, of 16 Maes Seilo, Penrhyncoch

Where: Plas Gogerddan

When: 13 September 2022

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: 15 months

Fine: £350

♦ Who: 28-year-old Ayrton Wood, of 87 Bro Einon, Llanybydder

Where: The B4336 at Llanllwni

When: 6 September last year

Drug: Cocaine and cannabis

Ban: 28 months

Fine: n/a, handed 120 hours unpaid work

♦ Who: 31-year-old Carlie Lawrence, of 15 Maesceiro, Bow Street

Where: A487 at Bow Street

When: 23 December 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 30-year-old Floyd Moore, of 50 North Road, Cwmconnell, Cardigan

Where: The A487 at Cardigan

When: 19 November 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 29-year-old Jack Prentice Miller, of 7 Troedyrhiw Caravans, North Road, Lampeter

Where: Bridge Street, Lampeter

When: 15 October 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £40

♦ Who: 37-year-old Orlando Langham, of Nant Yr Helyg, Glan Yr Afon, Aberystwyth

Where: Cefn Llan, Llanbadarn Fawr

When: 10 December 2022.

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 31-year-old Osian Thomas, of 4 Glascoed, High Street, St Dogmaels

Where: Maes yr Haf, Cardigan

When: 17 December 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 25-year-old Rhydian Davies of Fferm Gwarcefel, Llandysul, Prengwyn

Where: The A487 at Llanarth

When: 17 September 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £346

♦ Who: 32-year-old Rhys Thomas of 2 Bron-y-Dre, Cardigan

Where: The A487 at Nevern

When: 25 November 2022

Drug: Cannabis

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £461

♦ Who: 26-year-old Shaun Dryburgh of Maes Melindwr, Capel Bangor Village, Capel Bangor

Where: The A44 at Aberystwyth

When: 13 November 2022

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: 12 months

Fine: £120

♦ Who: 31-year-old Thomas Byrne, of Nant yr Arian, Forge, Machynlleth

Where: Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth

When: 26 November 2022

Drug: Ketamine

Ban: 15 months

Fine: £350

♦ Who: 30-year-old Tomos Showell of Y Graig Blaencelyn, Llandysul

Where: The Strand, Cardigan

When: 26 November 2022

Drug: Cocaine

Ban: 18 months

Fine: £120