- Sarah Ramsden, 36, opened her own dance school in Cheshire in 2011
- The mother-of-two tested positive for cocaine after being stopped by police last year
A drug-driving dance teacher who claims she turned to a ‘party lifestyle’ after being forced to close her school during the Covid lockdown has cried as she was banned from the streets for a year.
Sarah Ramsden, 36, tested positive for cocaine after being stopped by police after officers spotted her driving erratically in Dutton, Cheshire, last July.
Officers also smelled a “strong aroma” of cannabis coming from inside the Mercedes A-Class hatchback.
The mother-of-two, who previously taught street dance to youngsters as well as cheerleading at a local primary school in Widnes in Cheshire, blamed the ‘party’ lifestyle she had turned to after her business closed due to Covid for her arrest .
She also accused her then-boyfriend of “blatantly” smoking weed in the passenger seat.
Tests showed Ramsden, who works as a mobile beautician, had 126 microgrammes of benzoylecgonine (BZE) – the breakdown product of cocaine – in her blood when she was pulled over in the village of Dutton, near Chester. The legal limit is 50 mg.
At Chester Crown Court, Ramsden wept in the dock as she admitted drug-driving as her father and teenage daughter watched proceedings from the public gallery.
She was fined £80, ordered to pay £152 in costs and banned from driving for 12 months.
Ramsden set up her dance school, SJ Pure Street, in 2011 after reaching the finals of a talent competition.
She gained an adult education qualification, went on a Prince’s Trust course and gained a first aid qualification to add to her BTEC National Diploma in dance and taught dance at a local primary school.
He later organized dance performances at carnivals and appeared in the local press extolling the health benefits of dancing.
He said at the time: “I really want to give something back to the community. I want people to dance, smile and feel good.’
But Miss Jessica Pridding, prosecuting, said: “On Saturday July 29 last year, a blue Mercedes A class was spotted on Northwich Road in Dutton exceeding the speed limit and crossing the white line.
“The police stopped the vehicle. As they approached the vehicle there was a strong odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle.
“The defendant provided a breath sample and a roadside drug test tested positive for cannabis and cocaine.
“The accused was arrested. He has no previous convictions. There was an unacceptable pattern of driving.’
Defense barrister Gary Lawrenson said: “He was with a person in the car who was smoking cannabis as a precaution when the police got there.
“He was vocal about it and he was her boyfriend at the time – although my client’s father wouldn’t want me to describe him the way he describes him.
“The party and the other things leading up to it left a lasting impression on this young lady and will for a considerable time due to the inevitable ban.
“She is a single parent and trained as a dancer from school. She taught street dance to children from the age of five to teenagers, as well as some adults.
“Covid paid off for various reasons and during the lockdown he got a job as an Asda delivery driver, as many people did.
“During her stint as a dance teacher, she went back to college to train as a beautician and did that with some success, but she was a mobile beautician that ended.
“Clearly, she’s a hard-working lady and she’s very embarrassed to be here, embarrassed. She’s heartbroken, really. Being here with your daughter and your dad is not nice in some ways.
“He’ll get back to work doing something as soon as he can. Her daughter works nights in a pub in Runcorn and has problems getting to work.
“Her son is eight years old. Everyone will suffer.’
Sentencing Ramsden, JP Alan Davies said: “We can see you are very, very upset but we have to go through the system.
“There is no option to block. But based on your ability to pay while unemployed and not on salary, the fine will be greatly reduced.
“Due to your previous good character and your timely guilty plea, we are reducing the length of the ban. “I’m sure there’s no doubt you won’t be driving, but I must advise you that if you do, it’s a very serious offence.”