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Men smoked cannabis by their car full of the drug
8:20am Thursday 18th October 2012 in News
A PAIR of naive men who set up in the cannabis trade were found out after they were caught openly smoking the drug in a public park.
Stewart Hayes and Joel Sweeney were having a lunch-time joint in Queens Park when patrolling police community support officers smelled the drugs.
And it was found Hayes, 30, had about £1,200 worth of cannabis in his bag in 21-year-old Sweeney’s car.
The car also contained a newly purchased set of scales and small ziplock bags.
The younger man’s phone was then examined and found to contain messages which related to the trade in the drug.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the pair were sniffed out by the PCSOs in April last year.
After detaining them they called in uniformed officers who searched the car, which was parked nearby.
“Mr Hayes made a point of collecting his bag from behind Sweeney’s seat,” Mr Meeke told the court.
“In the bag was a quantity of cannabis leaf, a quantity of small ziplock bags and a set of scales. “A receipt was discovered and showed the ziplock bags and micro scales had been bought that morning.”
Mr Meeke said the drugs weighed just under 100 grams and had a street value of £1,200.
“Each of their mobile phones were analysed and it was abundantly clear from Mr Sweeney’s phone that he was involved in some level in the supply of cannabis to others.
“There were requests for cannabis and indications he had cannabis available, though no indications of quantity.”
He said Hayes admitted he had been buying in bulk and selling small amounts to friends who were already users.
Tony Bignall, defending Hayes, described the offence as utterly unsophisticated and said they were naive to be smoking in public when he had a relatively large amount in the car.
In the 18 months since the offence he said his client had turned his life around.
He said he was working full time as a forklift driver and has children aged eight and ten with his partner.
Hassan Baig, defending Sweeney, said his client, who came from a good family, had never been in trouble before and got involved by mixing with the wrong people.
He said they smoked cannabis so he joined in before deciding to begin supplying it. Mr Baig said Sweeney is now doing well working in the hospitality trade.
Passing sentence Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC said “There is a difference between the two of you. “You, Hayes, are 30, have no drugs conviction but appeared before courts before. “You, Sweeney, are 21 with no previous.
“It is possible on this occasion to deal with you by non-custodial sentences.
“But it doesn’t require much of a change of circumstances, in quantity, or value, or number of people you supplied, until the situation is entirely different and off to prison you go.”
He imposed a 12-month community order on Hayes telling him to do 140 hours of unpaid work and then he gave Sweeney an 18-month conditional discharge.