Colne man jailed for drug dealing

James Mason. (S)
James Mason. (S)

A Colne drug dealer has been jailed after Burnley Crown Court heard he sent out electronic fliers and used Facebook to communicate with his customers.

James Mason (21), of Birtwistle Avenue, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after the court heard he ran a “sophisticated” operation.

The court heard he also made a small profit from wholesaling cannabis.

Mason had been spotted by two police officers at around 2-15am in Skipton Road, Colne, on December 8th last year and was stopped, searched and let on his way.

Mr David Macro (prosecuting) said a short while later, police saw him again in Skipton Road near a wheelie bin and he then threw a bag over a yard wall in the following chase.

Mr Macro said Mason was detained and a search of the bag found 19 snap bags of cannabis. In Mason’s pocket was a bag of cannabis bush and a snap bag of cocaine. A mobile phone was also seized.

Mr Macro said the value of the cannabis was £290, the value of the cannabis bush was £65 and the cocaine was worth £5.

Mason pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, supply of cannabis between April 2011 and December 2012 and possession of cocaine at an earlier hearing.

Mr Macro said Mason made no comment to police on his arrest but an investigation of the phone “showed quite a history of supplying cannabis”.

He went on to say that in a three day sample he had looked at in detail from October 2012, it showed 15 different numbers of customers and 17 requests for cannabis.

Mr Macro said there was also a Facebook account which had evidence of dealing going back to April 2011.

But Mr Macro added that the wholesaling didn’t seem to be “at great profit” and that the advertising fliers didn’t appear to be that wide spread.

Mr Martin Hackett (defending), asked Recorder John Jones QC to consider a suspended sentence.

Mr Hackett said Mason was “fearful” of custody and had a number of family members in court on the day who would give support.

Mr Hackett said that in the pre-sentence report, Mason had been frank in saying “there is no point in lying”. Mr Hackett added Mason had mainly been involved in street dealing, there was “no pushing” of people to buy cannabis and he only contacted those he knew to be using the item.

Sentencing, Recorder Jones QC said Mason was not only dealing on a retail basis but a wholesale basis too.

Recorder Jones QC said that Mr Hackett had pointed out many postivtive points in his representation of Mason but said the only sentence he could pass was one of immediate custody.

Recorder Jones QC added that Mason had made “exceptional confessions” in the pre-sentence report and said that degree of candour gave hope for the future.

But Recorder Jones QC said that although Mason never pushed or forced others to buy drugs he cast his net “long and wide”.

Mason was given 12 months in prison for the two cannabis offences and a further month, which will be served concurrently, for possession of cocaine.