A 'DROWSY' drug driver who swallowed a rock of crack cocaine said people always think he's on something because of his ‘lazy eyelids'.

Daniele Marucci denied drug driving, claiming he only swallowed a rock of his passenger's crack cocaine in Worcester after police pulled him over. A few months later he was found by police 'slumped' behind the wheel of a van in the city.

Woken by an officer, Marucci failed a roadside drugs test but this time refused to provide an evidential specimen of blood at the police station, claiming in court he had 'a phobia of needles' despite having provided a blood sample last time. The 44-year-old of Marlbank Road, Welland, near Malvern, was convicted of two offences of drug driving following a trial at Worcester Magistrates Court on Friday.

The mechanic was found to have 65mg of cocaine per litre of blood and 800mg per litre of blood of BZE (a metabolite of cocaine) when pulled over in Blackpole Road, Worcester, on April 28 last year. The limit for cocaine is 10mg and the limit for BZE is 50mg.

PC Thomas Fletcher pulled Marucci over in his VW Golf after police received a call that he was driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. The officer described him as 'drowsy' and said his speech was 'slightly slurred'.

He was further convicted of failing to provide a specimen of blood for analysis after officers suspected him of being under the influence of drugs while in charge of a van in Ambleside Drive in Warndon, Worcester on August 10 last year. Marucci declined to give the sample, telling PC Mike Pennifold: "No, I don’t see the point."

The officer, who gave evidence in the trial, said Marucci ‘at no point whatsoever’ mentioned a ‘needle phobia’. Marucci had also previously provided a blood sample when he was arrested in April and did not supply medical evidence to support the claim he had such a phobia. “The officer said he suspected I was drowsy or had been drinking. I’ve got lazy eyelids,” the defendant said.

He said he swallowed the rock of crack because he did not realise he would be tested for drugs at the roadside.

"I put it in my mouth just before I got out of the car" said Marucci.

He added: "I'm meticulous not to drive under the influence of anything." He also told magistrates 'my licence is really important to me' and 'my life depends upon it'.

The father-of-two has previous convictions for possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, possession of heroin and dangerous driving. The court heard from a probation officer that Marucci had lost his mother two years ago and had recently suffered from pneumonia.

Magistrates banned him from driving for 18 months and ordered him to complete 150 hours of unpaid work, pay costs of £625 and a victim surcharge of £85.