Shotton pair jailed after £12,600 worth of cannabis found


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

POLICE who carried out a drugs search at a house discovered cannabis with an estimated street value of £12,600.

It turned out two former work colleagues at the Toyota engine plant on Deeside, who shared a home in Ash Grove, Shotton, had started to deal in the class ‘B’ drugs to clear their cannabis debts.

One of them, Alan Clark, 39, turned to cannabis to help him get over traumatic scenes he saw while on active service in Afghanistan.

House owner Clark and co-defendant Gavin Hughes, 34, his tenant, were each jailed for 15 months at Mold Crown Court after they admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Judge Rhys Rowlands told them if they had been convicted after trial then they would have received 21 month sentences. He said there was far too much cannabis for him to consider suspended sentences.

“A large amount of cannabis was found together with scales, bags and the evidence on Hughes’ mobile phone showed you were involved in selling cannabis,” the judge told them yesterday.

“On any view, this is a large amount of cannabis with the potential for being sub divided into very many street level deals. You knew full well the consequences of being caught. The two of you were prepared to take the risk and you must now take the consequences.”

Matthew Dunford told how police searched the property on a Sunday evening in March last year.

There was a strong smell of cannabis in the house, both men were in the kitchen, and cannabis was found in black bin bags, one just outside the back door.

Police found a list with figures upon it and in total 27 packages were found weighing 1.76 kilogrammes with an estimated street value of £12,600.

More than 1,000 text messages were found on Hughes’ phone showing he had been dealing “on behalf of Al”, which the 

prosecution said was Clark.

Hughes, in interview, said he sold to his mates, tried to sell to only people he knew, and said he was encouraged to sell by those he owed money to. Clark gave a no comment interview.

Mr Dunford said both were involved in the supply of cannabis on a commercial scale for profit.

Damian Sabino, defending, said both were men of previous good character. Clark had been in the Royal Navy from 1997 to 2001 and served in air operations in The Gulf. 

When he left in 2001 he secured employment at Toyota where he met Mr Hughes. He was now working as a taxi driver in Buckley and was studying at Deeside College to be an electrician.

It was not until 2010 he started using cannabis. As part of the Territorial Army he was in Afghanistan on active duty on the front line in search and destroy patrols.

He suffered trauma, saw friends and comrades being killed in battle and when he returned his mental health was not what it had been. He began to use cannabis and was struggling to pay for it. Since his arrest, he had reduced his cannabis intake.

Mr Sabino said Hughes had worked at Toyota for 13 years and was put forward for promotion to team leader. He had been using cannabis, was struggling to pay the mortgage and faced re-possession. He obtained accommodation with Clark.

He began selling cannabis to help pay for the drugs and for his debts. Hughes had now abstained from using cannabis.

Mr Sabino suggested suspended prison sentences would be appropriate, allowing Hughes to take up his promotion at Toyota and let Clark continue his studies to qualify as electrician.

See full story in the Leader

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