A MAN caught with cannabis worth at least £3,000 claimed he had bought it in bulk on behalf of himself and a number of friends.
Gregory McAfee (26), of Spring Meadows, Coleraine, came to police attention at Newbridge Road in the town on January 21 last year.
A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Monday police used sirens and flashing lights and although the defendant’s vehicle did not initially stop he did pull in after around 100 metres.
Police seized a package from the passenger footwell which contained 291 grammes of cannabis worth between £2,910 and £5,820 – depending on ‘street value’.
Officers also found a mobile phone, the paper part of the defendant’s driving licence and a ticket for the Stena ferry from Liverpool to Belfast.
A search of the defendant’s home recovered cannabis valued between £180 and £360 together with paraphernalia and another mobile phone and financial documentation.
A defence solicitor said the defendant had bought the drugs in bulk for himself and a number of friends and on that occasion it had been McAfee’s turn to collect the cannabis.
He said the defendant had been addicted to cannabis but the incident had been a “wake up call” and he had been taking steps to deal with the addiction.
The court heard the defendant had eleven previous convictions.
The defendant was being sentenced on charges of being concerned in the supply of cannabis; possession of the drug with intent to supply and possession of the drug.
District Judge Peter King told McAfee such charges in the Crown Court could lead to up to 14 years in prison.
He told McAfee: “This is where you would find yourself if this is the start of your ‘career’ as opposed to the end of your ‘career’ dealing with drugs”.
Ordering the defendant to do 180 hours of Community Service he told him: “You may have been doing other people a favour; they are not in front of the court, you are. A favour of this nature could put you into very significant trouble in the future”.