A UNIVERSITY undergraduate caught operating as a drugs dealer claimed to police that cash on him was from his student loan.
Connor Prescott - who had been using cannabis for a decade - also alleged that some of it was from “cash-in-hand” work, Liverpool Crown Court heard on Wednesday, January 8.
When police had stopped the 21-year-old driving a BMW in Southport they immediately noticed a strong smell of cannabis and searched him, said Paul Blasbery, prosecuting.
“Officers noticed a large ball-shape in his underwear and found a single bag containing nine further bags and he said, ‘they are 20 bags.’
“In his shorts pocket they found £600 cash and a further £180 cash was found in the driver’s door tray.
“A mobile phone in the central console was continuously receiving calls from unknown numbers and text messages showing addresses,” said Mr Blasbery.
The court heard that the bags of cannabis weighed a total of 16 grams with a potential street value of £180.
When interviewed the next day, August 3 last year, he said he had bought the cannabis from a friend for £300 which was a week’s worth for himself and denied he was going to sell any.
Asked how he could afford to spend £300 cash a week on drugs he said it was from his student loan and cash-in-hand work. He denied there were drug supply transactions on his phone.
Prescott, of Cambridge Road, Southport, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
His barrister Carmel Wilde said, “He is genuinely remorseful. He has had a long term cannabis habit from the age of 11.”
The court heard that he has no previous convictions and comes from a “decent hard working family” who were supporting him.
“Depression has been a problem for him for some years and he appears to have been mixing with the wrong crowd of people but has now disassociated himself from them.”
He is no longer using cannabis and is re-doing his second year at university.
He had a troubled relationship with his girlfriend at the time but that has now ended. He has now started going to a gym, stopped smoking and is working part time as a labourer. Miss Wilde said his parents wanted to “instill in him that there should be consequences and punishment and he can no longer drive as they have taken him off their insurance policy.”
Sentencing him to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months Judge Sophie McKone pointed out, “Cannabis is not a harmless drug, it causes misery not just to those people who use it but also the wider society because people pay for it through crime.
“You played your part in peddling that misery and you know that having been an addict and involved with drug dealers and running up a debt.”
She ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and imposed a six month home curfew between 7pm and 6 am.