Newcastle dad fined after concerned McDonald's staff called police over early hours drive-thru trip

Kenneth Mercer at Newcastle Magistrates' Court.
-Credit: (Image: ChronicleLive)

A dad has been fined after concerned McDonald's staff called police after he'd been to a drive-thru in the early hours of the morning.

Kenneth Mercer had gone to the drive-thru of the fast-food restaurant in Byker and had his teenage son in the passenger seat when staff feared he was "under the influence". When officers arrived, Mercer was found with "blue powder" on his face before being taken to a police station.

But when officers attempted to get a blood sample from him, Mercer claimed to be "terrified of needles" and refused to provide a sample. This week, the 40-year-old, of Wharrier Street, Newcastle, appeared at Newcastle Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

The court heard that shortly before 2am on May 4 this year, concerned McDonald's staff called the police after suspecting Mercer was "under the influence" after ordering food. His teenage son was also in the car with him.

Ruth Forster, prosecuting, said: "Police noted he was talking slow and blue coloured powder was around his mouth and lips, which he said was from eating sweets. He was breath tested and provided a zero result."

Police then requested a drug swipe, but there was no availability at that time and so Mercer was arrested and taken to the nearest police station. Ms Forster added: "He was asked if he had taken any medication and he said he had taken methadone that previous morning."

Officers then asked Mercer - who had 26 previous convictions - to provide a blood sample, but he refused, saying he was "terrified of needles". He continued to refuse to provide a sample and so was charged with the offence.

Jack Lovell, defending, said Mercer pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and said many of his previous convictions related to drugs. He said: "He accepts he was in the vehicle with his son. His son had stayed over with him, woken up in the middle of the night and asked his father if he would take him to McDonald's.

"They went to the drive-thru and staff had some concerns. Police quickly attended and he was parked in the car park. He was simply eating his food and accepts he had been eating sweets with his son." Mr Lovell added that Mercer was in the process of setting up his own waste disposal company and that there was "no evidence of any impairment".

Magistrates fined Mercer £200 and banned him from driving for 36 months. He must also pay an £80 surcharge and £85 costs.