A STABLEHAND who acted as a getaway driver after two colleagues stole from Tesco has been given another roads ban.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard Samuel Hanks, 30, had gone along with his two colleagues at the Royal Wootton Bassett stables to the Swindon supermarket at lunchtime on February 19.

Hanks had not realised his workmates planned to steal from the store, the justices heard.

He was notified by one of his colleagues as he waited in the Ford Ranger 4x4 they needed help. He got behind the wheel of the car and went to collect the two men.

Police had already been alerted by the shop and caught the trio down dead-end Farriers Close. By the time officers arrived, Hanks was no longer in the driver’s seat.

He failed a drug wipe test at the scene and his blood was later found to contain 5.9mcgs of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis. The legal limit is 2mcgs.

Interviewed by police, Hanks acknowledged he should not have been driving. He had been given a three year ban in 2016 for drug driving. Although that ban had come to an end in 2019, he was yet to be given his new driving licence by the authorities.

Appearing before JPs from Gablecross police station on Saturday, Hanks, of Lime Kiln, Royal Wootton Bassett, pleaded guilty to drug driving, driving otherwise in accordance with a licence and driving with no insurance.

Representing himself, Hanks told magistrates: “I didn’t know what the other two colleagues were up to at that time. I literally just went out to have a smoke of cannabis on my lunchbreak. They rang me as they left Tesco and I stupidly drove the car across the car park and out the car park.” He said he might lose his job as a result of a further driving ban.

Chairman of the bench Simon Wolfensohn said: “We really don’t have very much discretion at all in sentencing for this offence. This involved driving across a public car park under the influence of drugs and because of your previous record we must disqualify you from driving for three years.”

Hanks was fined £700 and ordered to pay £120 in costs and surcharge. He was disqualified from driving for three years.