England

Football bus driver found guilty of drug-driving offence

Amex Stadium Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael Sanderson was one of two drivers arrested at the Amex stadium leaving fans stranded after the match

Football fans were left stranded 300 miles from home after their coach drivers were arrested in a bus which "reeked" of cannabis, a court heard.

Towards the end of the match between Brighton and Newcastle police visited the coach and arrested the two men.

Michael Sanderson, 49, from Northumberland was charged with being over the drugs-drive limit.

He failed to appear at a hearing at Brighton Magistrates' Court and was convicted in his absence.

About 50 Newcastle United fans had made the trip on the coach on 27 April for the Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium in Falmer, East Sussex.

When police visited the bus they found it "reeked" of cannabis, the court was told.

The two drivers on board the bus failed drugs tests and were arrested.

Only Sanderson, of Rosalind Street in Ashington, Northumberland, was charged with being in charge of a vehicle while over the legal limit for cannabis.

Prosecutor Roger Booth said the two drivers had transported the Newcastle fans to the match and had been planning to split the duties on the way back.

Sanderson, who was in possession of the keys, told officers that he had not believed he would fail the test.

He is due to be sentenced at the same court on 27 March.

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