Jobless joiner from Nelson supplied drugs to teenagers

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A JOBLESS joiner said to have supplied cannabis resin to teenagers has walked free from court.

Roy Jones had two blocks of the drug, worth more than £1,530 on the streets, locked in his bedroom at his home in Nelson, when police raided it last November. The defendant, a cannabis user, told police he had been selling the drug for a year and had started doing it when he lost his work, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Jones, who now faces a proceeds of crime hearing, had admitted supplying cannabis resin between November 2009 and November last year and possessing the drug with intent to supply.

The defendant (61), of Ringstone Crescent, Nelson, was given 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work.

Sentencing, Judge Simon Newell, who had read references written on the defendant’s behalf, including one from the priest of his local church, said the circumstances of the case were wholly exceptional.

The judge said he would ordinarily pass a jail term, but Jones had pleaded guilty, had an exceptionally good work record and a very positive social record.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said when police searched the defendant’s home, he was present, as was his adult nephew, who lived with him, and four youths, aged about 15 and 16.

Jones volunteered that he had some “weed” in his bedroom. In the wardrobe, officers found two blocks of cannabis resin. One was completely wrapped - what used to be known as a “nine bar” - and the other had had pieces cut from it. Police recovered £370 cash, as well as digital scales and a dealer’s list. The total weight of the drug was 538 grams and it had a street value of £1,537.

Miss Statham said the defendant was arrested and interviewed and said work had dried up. He told officers he bought resin in a block and would supply to friends. Jones said he had had his house searched by police once before and that had made him think better of it. The defendant had no previous convictions.

Mr Martin Hackett (for Jones) said he had started using cannabis because of pain in his ear. He then started to use it more regularly and started to sell small amounts. He provided a small circle of friends with the drug on occasions.

The defendant realised he had to be punished. He had not realised he had been behaving in such a serious manner. The barrister said: “He accepts he knew cannabis was illegal, but didn’t realise that by selling small amounts to friends he would be falling foul of the legal system.”

Mr Hackett continued: “These matters aside, he is an ordinary man.” He said the defendant had no family of his own and his nephew looked to Jones as a father figure. The barrister added: “In that role, he has to accept he has come up short of the mark. He has provided his nephew with cannabis.”