A MECHANIC claimed he only started dealing in cannabis after he was threatened at gun-point, a court heard.
Michel Webster Granton said the gunman threatened to kill him unless he took on a £14,000 drugs debt belonging to someone else and worked for them in order to pay it off.
Granton, 30, had already been supplying cannabis to friends on a shared basis for a few months before that.
Mold Crown Court heard how the matter came to light when Granton, of Princess Street, Connah’s Quay, took a drugs overdose.
He was taken to hospital after swallowing pills, which he believed to be ecstasy.
But they turned out to be a compound of ecstasy named BZP which was in fact a class “C” drug.
A check of his mobile phone revealed text messages indicative of dealing in cannabis.
Granton admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis, a class “B” drug, and possessing 73 BZP pills for his own use.
He claimed to have found the pills in a park, explained prosecuting barrister Jayne La Grua.
In his basis of plea, accepted by the prosecution, he said he was concerned with the supply of cannabis between February and August of last year.
Until June he supplied a group of six friends, funding his own habit by selling what he had over to them.
But he claimed that between June and August he collected packages of drugs for a gang.
Members of the gang had attended at his address with a firearm and said he owed them £14,000.
If he did not pay the money and work for them then he would be killed and he said he took the threat seriously.
Interviewed, he said it was someone else’s debt he had been forced to adopt as his own.
Simon Rogers, defending, said until last year things had been going very well for his client.
He had a good job as a mechanic working all over the world, including China and The Netherlands.
It was skilled work which paid well but life spiralled out of control last year which led to the offences.
However, he had been placed on a suspended sentence last year, was making good progress, and despite his convictions he was confident of obtaining work.
“He is a man who has gone off the rails but who is now back on track,” Mr Rogers explained.
Mr Rogers asked the court to take an exceptional course.
Judge Philip Hughes said his basis of plea had been accepted by the prosecution.
That meant he would be sentenced for supplying cannabis to friends and then for a couple of months, after being subjected to bullying and threats of violence, he became involved on a different basis.
He also took into account his personal circumstances.
The defendant had recently attempted to take his own life but had since responded well to supervision .
Under the circumstances, he said he would receive a six-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with a four-month tagged curfew to ensure he remained indoors between 6.30pm and 6am.