Addict coerced into selling drugs to pay of dealer debt, court told

First published in News

A JOBLESS man coerced into selling cannabis by his dealer sobbed as he was given a suspended jail sentence.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Adam White built up a £2,000 debt because of his addiction to smoking pot.

That debt was then doubled by his dealer who also threatened his family.

Uzma Khan, for White, said he was offered a deal to supply the drug and as a “very immature and naive” 21-year-old agreed to do so in the hope he could clear the debt.

Prosecutor Sue Jacobs described how police found 39 small bags of cannabis leaf in a kitchen drawer in White’s former home in Stokesley Crescent, Billingham, on December 13 last year.

A total of £731 cash was hidden under a cupboard floor while a number of mobile phones were seized.

White, who pleaded guilty to possession of a class B drug with intent to supply, told police the money was lent to him by his father-in-law to pay towards his drug debt.

Ms Khan, mitigating, said White was apologetic and very remorseful. He had also suffered severe panic attacks and had problems with depression.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said he accepted White had been coerced into dealing.

He said: “To some extent your involvement came about by naivety and exploitation and you clearly had no influence on those above you in the chain.”

The judge said he would sentence White as a street level dealer, but felt it was not necessary to jail him immediately.

White, of Melsonby Court, Billingham, was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months and told to do 150 hours unpaid work in the community. He will also be supervised by probation officers for six months.

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