Dad who ran 'legal high' drugs website from Burslem base sent to jail
A FATHER-OF-TWO has been jailed for selling thousands of pounds worth of 'legal high' drugs, which then became illegal.
Thomas Dean, aged 32, previously ran his own website business selling the drugs from Moorland Road Enterprise Centre, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
But on August 9, 2010 he was found unconscious in a room at the Alton Towers Hotel.
Prosecutor Fiona Cortese said: "He was unconscious on the floor. There was evidence of drinking and drug taking. Police managed to wake him.
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"They searched the room and him and found in excess of £51,000 and some powder, which contained controlled drugs."
The court heard police also found keys to a room at the Bulls Head Inn, High Street, Alton.
Inquiries revealed Dean had checked in the previous day carrying holdalls.
Police searched the room with a drugs dog and recovered 889.69 grams of powder containing flephedrone, which was valued between £7,750 and £13,275.
Officers also found 66.83 grams of powder, which contained methadrone worth between £600 and £1,010.
Two sets of scales were also recovered bearing traces of drugs.
A computer at the Burslem business unit was analysed and found to contain emails between April 2010 and July 2010 relating to Dean's trade in drugs.
Dean told police he ran a business trading in legal highs. He denied any intention to supply the drugs found.
He said he ceased trading as soon as the drugs were made illegal.
He said the items in the Bulls Head Inn were left over from trading and he had gone there with the intention of flushing them down the toilet.
He added that the money seized was from previous legal trading and he did not want to put it in the bank as two accounts had been frozen.
But months later, in November 2010, more drugs were found when police carried out a search at Dean's business premises.
He told police he had legal drugs on the premises but officers found 920.3 grams of powder containing class B drugs, which had a street value of £13,800, the court heard.
Dean, of Macclesfield Street, Burslem, pleaded guilty to four charges of possession of a class B drug with intent to supply.
Anis Ali, mitigating, said Dean was a family man of previous good character.
He said: "He was involved in the commercial supply of what were by and large lawful stimulants. Various substances came to be illegal. On realising that he ceased trading."
He said Dean became a habitual user of various substances and decided to keep hold of them for his own use.
But had the opportunity arisen he would perhaps have supplied others.
Mr Ali added that Dean believed the drugs found in his premises in November were legal but accepts he should have done more to check.
Recorder Stephen Lowne jailed Dean for six years.
He told the defendant: "It seems to me you decided to find a way of making money from what some may call the grey area of drug dealing. Materials that can give a high but are not illegal. They became illegal.
"This was a professionally set up business, not a casual business some drug dealers engage upon."