Drug dealer arranged mallet attack on thieving customer

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A DEALER who arranged the brutal beating of a customer who tried to steal his drugs has been put behind bars.

John Brown told Dean Beresford he was calling in the “big boys” when he caught him trying to make off with £800 of cannabis from his shed last November.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Beresford was kept at the house until an unknown attacker arrived and launched into a ferocious attack, using a mallet to hit his head, hands and back.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: “He was hit a number of times to the back of the head and also kicked to the face.”

The court heard Mr Beresford was left with a broken finger, cut head and a swollen, bruised back.

When Brown realised the police were likely to be called, he drafted in the help of neighbour Lea Ewbank to look after his cannabis, which was stashed in a baby milk tin.

Brown, of Coach Road Estate, Washington, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and supplying cannabis.

He was jailed for 20 months.

Mr Recorder Gordon told him: “You announced to Mr Beresford ‘the big boys are coming’, and when this man came, he picked up a mallet and attacked him as you stood by.

“You did nothing to stop him. Indeed, the only commonsense conclusion to draw from this is you were, by your presence, encouraging him to meet out retribution, justice on the spot as you saw it, to Mr Beresford, who had stolen the drugs.

“The attack was a vicious one, involved hitting him with a mallet to his head, hands and back. He was also kicked in the face.

“The injuries were very unpleasant indeed and he needed medical treatment.”

Ewbank, who admitted possessing cannabis with intent, was given a 12-month community order with supervision and 120 hours’ unpaid work.

The judge told him: “It was madness, madness getting involved in this.”

Robin Patton, defending, said Brown played no active part in the violence and was dealing cannabis on behalf of someone else.

Bob Spragg, defending Ewbank, said: “He knows he should not have done it.”