Dad jailed after police sniff out drugs in vehicle
A STREET dealer was caught by police carrying crack cocaine, a court heard.
Police seized the drug with a street value of more than £1,000 from 33-year-old Raymond Whatkiss.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that since his arrest last year, the defendant and his mother have both been threatened by dealers over the loss of the drugs.
Whatkiss, who has been sleeping rough, was jailed for 35 months yesterday after he was caught with the drugs in Newcastle and found guilty of possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply.
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Whatkiss had claimed he was holding the drugs for a dealer, but his claim was thrown out.
Prosecutor Neil Ahuja told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court: "He came to police attention on September 22 last year. He was the front seat passenger in a car.
"There was a smell of cannabis, which led to a search of the car and the individuals.
"There was a cigarette packet. In it was 11.2 grams of powder which contained 33 per cent of cocaine, in the form commonly known as 'crack'.
"The Crown takes the view he would have benefited the figure of £1,120 from the value of the drugs."
Whatkiss has 19 previous convictions for 74 offences.
Mitigating, Peter McCartney said: "It was a debt to his dealer which drew him into this offending.
"The effect on him has been significant. There has been threats to him and his mother, due to the debt and the loss of drugs.
"He has slept rough, he has had to live wherever he can lie down.
"Most significantly he fears the loss of contact with his young child and the effect it will have on her.
"Whatever he has done he has always been a good father to her.
"He is also feeling the burden of the effect it will have on his mother. His father died last year and his mum is ill and he has been doing what he can for her.
"He is going to lose contact with his daughter for some time and place a burden on his mother."
Jailing Whatkiss, Judge Paul Glenn told him: "You are now aged 33 and you have a significant criminal record.
"Crack is a highly addictive drug. It causes misery.
"You had the equivalent of 41 street deals. You tried to put the police off the scent by volunteering cannabis to them.
"You were going to deal at street level, I suspect to finance your own cannabis use."