Cocaine handler is jailed

A MAN caught by police with more than £500 worth of cocaine has been jailed.

Paul Williams, 27, became anxious after seeing police in his street just after taking the bag of drugs from a man in a car.

He ran into his house, but was followed by police.

Williams threw the cocaine into the fireplace, along with another bag of cannabis bush.

Teesside Crown Court heard the cocaine had a street value of between £432 and £540 while the cannabis had a dealing value of £84.

Police then searched Williams’ house in Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool, and recovered £460 cash, digital scales and £240 worth of cannabis from his bedroom.

Williams said he had been asked to hold on to the cocaine for 10 minutes by the men in the car and was not a dealer himself.

He added the cannabis in the bedroom was for his and his partner’s personal use.

He was jailed for 12 months after admitting possession of a class A drug with intent to supply and possession of class B drugs.

Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said Williams started taking drugs after an industrial accident.

He said: “It caused him a great deal of pain and rather than seeking conventional medications he sought to medicate his pain by the use of cannabis.

“He quickly became addicted to the cannabis and it escalated to cocaine.”

Williams has previous convictions for possessing cannabis with intent for which he was given a suspended prison sentence in 2009 and possession.

Recorder Michael Slater said: “Clearly that is an offence so serious it can only be met with a sentence of immediate imprisonment.

“But it’s not as serious as dealing. It’s for that reason I impose a relatively modest term of imprisonment.

“Beware, you have now built up quite a substantial record for drugs offences and any further offences will likely result in a term of years not months.”