A MAN who was given a suspended prison sentence in January for a stalking offence has been spared jail, despite re-offending.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court heard that Peter Marshall, 41, was stopped by police on April 8 this year who suspected he was driving under the influence of drugs.

Jonathan Hanratty, prosecuting, said: "After failing a road-side drug test the defendant was arrested and taken to the police station where he admitted driving whilst under the influence of drugs."

Amy Lamb, mitigating, said her client had been experiencing "a hard time" and had been using cannabis as a coping mechanism.

She added: "His father has cancer and it is not known how long he has left to live. The concern is that if his suspended sentence is activated he could miss the passing away of his father."

David Shallows, chair of the bench, said: "We are not going to impose custody but you have come very close."

Marshall, of Hill Crest, Esh, was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £100.