Drug user caught 'ferrying' heroin supply for friends spared jail
A HEROIN user who carried bags of the drug for pals in exchange for his own supply has been spared jail.
Lee Edwards was stopped by plain clothes police in an alleyway behind Gibson Street, Tunstall.
Prosecutor Neil Ahuja yesterday told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court how 37-year-old Edwards admitted that he had something in his front pocket.
"Two small bags of powder were recovered," said Mr Ahuja.
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The bags contained 512 milligrams of powder containing heroin.
Edwards's mobile phone was also recovered. During interview, he said someone had asked him to pick up the bags.
He said he had been using heroin after breaking up with his girlfriend and used about three grams a day. He said if he picked up two wraps he would get one. He said he did it for seven or eight people, mostly girls who were friends.
Edwards said he made no financial profit, but only received drugs. He said he had been doing it for six weeks.
Texts on the phone were consistent with Edwards' account, the court heard.
Edwards, of Scotia Road, Tunstall, who has a previous conviction for supplying class A drugs, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply on September 17.
Nicola Bell, mitigating, conceded 'ferrying' class A drugs can warrant a custodial sentence. But she said Edwards's offending was for a short period and there was no financial gain.
Ms Bell said Edwards is consistently providing negative drug samples and is now working. She asked Judge Granville Styler to pull back from passing a jail sentence.
The judge said he was prepared to take a chance on Edwards, who was making an effort to turn his life around.
He sentenced him to 12 months, suspended for two years, with supervision and 180 hours unpaid work.
Judge Styler told him: "I am impressed with the progress you are making. If you continue in this light, the best opportunity you have of giving up drugs completely is for me not to send you to prison today."
But Judge Styler warned Edwards if he is caught supplying or intending to supply drugs again he will be jailed for seven years – the minimum term for a third drugs trafficking offence.