A MAN found with £3,500-worth of drugs and £2,500 cash in his home said the money was compensation from a whiplash claim.
Kevin Smith had 231 grammes of cannabis skunk with a street value of £1,600, and 187 grammes of amphetamine worth £1,900 when his Sunderland flat was raided by police on March 9 this year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that the drugs did not belong to Smith, but he allowed a friend – a Mr Wardle – to stay at his flat knowing he had drugs in his possession.
He claimed the cash recovered belonged to him, and was a payment from a whiplash claim. However, the money was confiscated by magistrates.
Smith, 32, admitted knowing that the drugs would be stored under his roof – despite the fact that his young daughter stayed with him three times a week.
Judge Simon Hickey said the offence was still a serious one, and that he “must have known that he (Wardle) was then going to supply them to others and they were going to end up in the public domain.”
When Smith’s flat was searched, officers found a black plastic bag containing 10 smaller clear bags, each containing a quantity of skunk cannabis.
A grinder and a set of scales were recovered along with the amphetamine.
Prosecutor Mark Guiliani said: “Mr Smith was not to benefit in any way from the drugs, but it is accepted the drugs would have been returned to Mr Wardle had the police not intervened.”
The court heard that Smith attended Gillbridge Police Station on March 14 voluntarily, and Mr Wardle also confirmed Smith’s version of events.
Smith, of Thorndale Road, Thorney Close, admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply and amphetamines.
The court heard that Smith had previous drug convictions, including possession of cannabis in 2004, possession of a class A drug in 2005 and a further possession of cannabis in 2007.
Sentencing him to 26 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, Judge Hickey said: “You voluntarily went to the police station on March 14 and said in the first interview that you lived alone, where a small daughter stayed with you three times a week.
“You said that £2,500 was from a whiplash payment and the grinder and scales were yours.”
Smith was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and was given a supervision requirement for 12 months.