Teenage Hartlepool cannabis dealer slammed by judge for selling drug during stay at home lockdown
A teenager who set up a cannabis dealing operation under the noses of his parents has been spared jail.
Jack Stokle was aged just 17 when police executed a warrant at the family home after being tipped off he was supplying drugs from the house to users.
Officers found 59 wraps of cannabis in one gram and 3.5 gram prepared deals worth between £770 and £860 in total, along with a wad of £740 in cash and cannabis grinders.
Teesside Crown Court heard Stokle, who was a heavy cannabis user himself, had been selling to friends without his parents knowing.
Police caught him trying to hide some of the cannabis under his bed when they carried out the search warrant on November 2 last year.
A judge said it was an aggravating feature that Stokle, now 18 and who started using cannabis when he was just 14, was dealing during the time’s strict lockdown when people were told to stay at home.
Recorder Marco Giuliani said: “In November we were under the tightest lockdown in this country.
"In my judgement this was aggravated by the fact you were dealing during the time of a worldwide pandemic where people meeting was causing the spread of an extremely serious virus.”
Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said analysis of two mobile phones belonging to Stokle revealed messages from six contacts asking for drugs with one reading “any weed mate?”
Miss Atkinson said: “It was clearly for onward supply and not consistent with personal use.”
But she accepted there was no evidence he was selling to strangers or trying to expand his business.
Stokle, of Huntley Road, Hartlepool, admitted possession of a class B drug with intent to supply.
Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said he is still very young, had no previous convictions or cautions and has been assessed as a low risk of reoffending.
He said Stokle bought the cannabis in bulk and some of it was for his own use, and has since taken steps to address his habit describing his arrest as a “wake up call”.
Recorder Giuliani also told him cannabis was not a harmless drug but was responsible for psychosis in many mainly young men.
He sentenced Stokle to an 18-month community order, 15 rehabilitation activity days and 100 hours of unpaid community work.