Drug driver with knife tucked into his trousers seen in East Preston corner shop

A drug-driver who entered a village store in possession of a knife on New Year’s Eve has been convicted in court.

Police were called at about 8.30pm on December 31 after a member of the public reported seeing a young man enter One Stop in North Lane, East Preston, with a knife tucked into his trousers.

The knife that was seized from the defendant. Picture: Sussex Police

The knife that was seized from the defendant. Picture: Sussex Police

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He left the premises prior to officers’ arrival in a black Ford Fiesta, which was traced to an address in Russell’s Close, East Preston, police said.

Officers attended and the man who answered the door was identified as Matt Coughlan, 22, unemployed, who lived there. He admitted he had driven to One Stop, and claimed he entered the store in possession of a torch which he said was for protection, police said. He was searched and no torch was found.

However, on searching his vehicle, officers discovered a knife measuring approximately 6” in the driver’s side door. The vehicle also had a strong smell of cannabis, and Coughlan was therefore required to take a DrugWipe test, which he failed. He was also found in possession of a small bag of white powder.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with driving with 6mcg of cannabis and 66mcg of MDMA per litre of blood in his system, three times and over six times the legal limit respectively.

He was also charged with possession of a knife in public and possession of cocaine.

At Worthing Magistrates’ Court on June 11, Coughlan was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.