Five teenagers killed when their stolen car crashed had used cannabis.

Forensic Science Service toxicologist Andrew Clatworthy told an inquest all five tested positive for cannabis.

Another witness described seeing the stolen car veer out of control moments before it crashed.

Gemma Markwick was walking home when she heard the sound of a siren and a car moving fast.

Miss Markwick, from Hastings, said: "I had only taken about ten steps when the car flew past me. I didn't take too much notice because everyone drives too fast down that stretch of road.

"The car sounded like a racing car as it zoomed past.

"I checked in my bag to make sure I had my keys, looked up and just saw the car ahead of me, and it started to veer." The blue Rover Metro careered into a lamp post and wall in Battle Road, St Leonards, at around 1.40am on October 29 2005.

The impact killed Daniel Carwardine, 16, of Beauchamp Road, St Leonards; Kelly Goring, 17, of Quebec Road; Barrie Mackay, 15, of London Road; Danielle Martin, 16, of Quebec Road; and Lee Morgan, 14, of Chambers Road.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an inquiry after it transpired a police car was following the Metro before it crashed.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was no evidence of criminal behaviour by the police car driver, acting Sergeant Paul Sandeman, but the IPCC has said it will consider possible action after the week-long inquest.

Miss Markwick told the second day of the Hastings inquest the police car's prompt arrival suggested it may have been chasing the stolen car.

She said: "The car had tipped over on its side with its roof pointing towards the road. It was still facing in the right direction but it was tipped on its driver's side.

"Three bodies of young people were on the pavement and I realised straight away they were dead."

Miss Markwick said the first police officer at the scene went up to the wrecked car and said: "Can anyone hear me. Is everyone OK?" but got no response.

Mr Clatworthy told the inquest that, as well as cannabis, three of the teenagers - Daniel, Kelly and Danielle - also had alcohol in their systems.

He was asked to conduct further tests on Barrie's samples after suggestions he was driving the car.

Asked by East Sussex coroner Alan Craze whether Barrie was under the influence of cannabis, Mr Clatworthy replied: "Without knowing his drug habit, I cannot tell you.

"If he was an occasional user, then in my opinion he had used cannabis three to four hours before his death, but if he was a habitual user, I couldn't give any assistance."

Mr Clatworthy said he could not dismiss the possibility that the four other teenagers were under the influence of the drug at the time.

"If they used cannabis within three to four hours, there would be a perpetual risk of their driving being affected. I consider it unsafe to drive if you have smoked cannabis," he said.

"Cannabis is a drug that slows the body down. It slows down reactions, it slows co-ordinations but it also makes a person feel euphoric and good, which is why cannabis is abused."

The hearing continues today.