‘Vulnerable’ man had been exploited

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A “VULNERABLE” man who was looking after a £1,000 haul of hard drugs for a dealer has walked free from court.

Fasial Munir, who had a very low IQ, had been found with a plastic glove full of heroin and cocaine in his jeans pocket when police stopped and arrested him in Nelson after receiving information. He claimed he was “babysitting” the drugs which had been “pushed on him” about half an hour before. The owner would have sold them when they were handed back to him, but he was not taking part in any commercial dealing himself, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Munir was spared prison, even though those involved in the supply of Class A drugs usually get locked up for years. The defendant (23), of Lomeshaye Road, Nelson, admitted possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and obstructing police.

Judge Jonathan Gibson described the case as “wholly exceptional” and gave him 12 months in custody, suspended for two years, with 100 hours unpaid work and a three-month 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. He had no previous convictions.

The judge said he accepted Munir’s vulnerability had been exploited. He told the hearing the defendant’s IQ of 59 put him at almost the bottom of the range in this country and he was easily influenced by others. He told Munir: “I think you have been taken advantage of by somebody else.”

Mr Martin Hackett (prosecuting) said at about midday, police detained the defendant and found the plastic glove. He gave false details. Munir was taken to the police station and interviewed. He told officers a lad had gone up to him, grabbed hold of him, said something about the coppers going to get him and then put the glove in his pocket. The defendant continued: “I didn’t know what it was. I just legged it away. I was going home when you lot just pulled me up.”

Mr Hackett said the defendant explained he was shell shocked and scared and wasn’t supplying the drugs, which is what he thought they were. The glove contained 17 knotted plastic packages of cocaine, weighing 1.46 grams and further packages of the drug, and 61 knotted packages of heroin, in £10 and £20 wraps. The total value of the drugs was £955.

Mr Kevin Preston, for Munir, said he did not function at a particularly high level and was doing the bidding of others more criminally sophisticated. He had difficulties and was said to be prone to influence and suggestibility.

The solicitor said: “This defendant is almost a person who, if you told him to go and jump in the river, he would. He has been taken advantage of and has not fully appreciated the consequences of his actions.”