A FORMER soldier who turned cannabis dealer after he used the drug as pain relief for a battle injury has been spared jail.
Marc Turpin, 35, damaged his shoulder during a career in which he saw active service in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland and Kosovo.
I am going to suspend the sentence to give you a chance to learn your lesson and put your life back on track. I hope you take that chance.Mr Justice Leggett
Newcastle Crown Court heard that after his discharge he began to use the illegal drug as a pain killer.
When police raided his girlfriend’s home in September last year they found seven bags of cannabis in £10 deals, along with a debtors list of cash he was owed from his sales.
Prosecutor Simon Worthy told the court; “He accepted the bags were in deals and said he had been supplying to his friends over a period of time and there would be evidence of that on his mobile phone.
“He accepted he made a note of money owed to him by friends. He had been supplying for a short period of time.”
Turpin admitted possession with intent to supply.
His barrister Glen Gatland told the court: “His shoulder problem exacerbated last year. He then turned to smoking cannabis as a palliative measure for that injury.
“He would buy cannabis and his friends would then ask him for some.
“Rather than just supply out of his own, he would buy a larger amount for less money, then they could buy their cannabis from him.
“It was in a very limited circle of friends, just three or four.”
Mr Gatland said Turpin has now found work as a crane operator, and his involvement with drugs stopped on the day of the raid last year.
Turpin admitted the dealing had gone on for about a month.
Mr Justice Leggett sentenced Turpin, of Beckford, Washington, to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a six-month curfew and £250 costs.
The judge told him: “Given the nature of this offence it is one where I must pass a custodial sentence.
“I am going to suspend the sentence to give you a chance to learn your lesson and put your life back on track. I hope you take that chance.”