A DRIVER was caught with almost £14,000 worth of cannabis when he was pulled over in his work van for speeding.
Christopher Carney would not have come to the attention of the police if he had not been travelling at up to 90mph on the A19 at Sunderland last May.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard his haste led to him being stopped by officers – who were blown away by the overpowering stench of cannabis.
The officers found 1.37kilos of skunk cannabis – worth £13,680 – together with £1,600 in cash inside the vehicle.
Carney, of Hart Square, Nookside, Sunderland, had £660 in his pocket.
Also, “piles of notes” totalling £4,000 were found during a search at his home.
The court heard Carney’s iPhone was seized and contained pictures of the 29-year-old posing with “wads” of money.
Prosecutor Mark Giuliani told the court: “At 9.40pm on May 14, as you would if you have 1.37 kilos of cannabis in your van, you speed on the A19 at 80 to 90mph, when the speed limit is 60.
“The defendant was stopped by the police. They noticed an overpowering smell of cannabis.
“In the back of the van there was 1.37 kilos of skunk cannabis.
“He was in his works van. His employer had no idea what he was using the van for.”
Carney pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent and money laundering.
Judge John Evans jailed him for 12 months.
The judge said: “It is simply not possible to avoid the imposition of an immediate custodial sentence in this case.
“The trouble is there is just too much of it.
“What occasioned you to behave in this way is difficult to understand, because the references you have provided suggest you have a very different nature to that you were displaying on this occasion and in the photographs.”
Vic Laffey, defending, said Carney had been a drug user who got involved in the deal to pay off debt, which he now regrets.
He added: “His references refer to a young man who has been involved regularly in the local community in terms of raising money for charity and the like.”