Drug dealer avoids jail after judge hears tale of hardship

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A Leyland dad took to drug dealing to buy Christmas presents for his son, Preston Crown Court heard.

Mark Dearden, 32, of Balshaw Road, was facing a bleak Christmas after losing his job in 2012.

Having applied unsuccessfully for more than 20 jobs a week, the court heard Dearden set up the only business he knew, selling amphetamine to friends.

But on November 2 police executed a search warrant at his house after being let in by his partner Michelle Turner.

In the kitchen - hidden in a Bisto gravy pot - they discovered a quantity of white paste, which was later found to be amphetamine.

A set of digital scales, with traces of white powder, was found on top of the freezer and a mug containing plastic wraps was also seized.

Karl Berry, prosecuting, told the court a total of 100.7g of amphetamine was seized during the raid.

He said: “In indicated the white powder was amphetamine which he was going to sell for £15 a wrap.

“He said he was no longer a drug user and the amphetamine was not for his own use.”

Russell Davies, defending, told the court: “It was the only means he felt he could use to provide.

“He did have bailiffs at the door, he did have a small child, they were in receipt of benefits and hey have found it difficult.

“It is no excuse but it is mitigation.”

Recorder Michael Laprell, sentencing, said: “There is no evidence that you were dragging new users into your drug world.

“If there weren’t drug suppliers there would not be drug users. You were doing it for money.

“The explanation is that you are doing because you are attempting to live with a partner on benefits.

“You were heading financially for a bleak Christmas - this was a way of supplementing your income.

“I am not unsympathetic to your financial hardship but at the same time, not everyone who suffers financial hardship turns to criminality. You did. You must have some credit for your frankness.”

He handed him a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years with 12 months supervision and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He also ordered Dearden to pay a £100 victim surcharge.