Man sold drugs to buy Christmaspresents forhis children

Date: Friday 20th October 2017

A PENRITH man who turned to drug dealing so he could afford to buy Christmas presents for his children has been given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Police seized a total of 500g of the class B drug, with a potential value of £5,000, from addresses connected with Zane Aaron Tinkler (25), Lowther Court, Penrith, in November, 2016, after he was stopped and searched by police.

Tinkler, Mathew Graham (23), of the same address, Tinkler’s partner, Stacy Ann Felton (33), Grove Court, Penrith, and David Harold (38), Reeth Road, Carlisle, were all initially charged with conspiracy to supply the drug.

However, this charge was dropped by the prosecution on the day of the trial after guilty pleas were offered by Tinkler and Felton to individually possessing the drug with intent to supply, rather than conspiring together.

Harold pleaded guilty to simple possession and Graham was convicted of being concerned with the supply of the drug, solely by wrapping a package of cannabis.

Mr. Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, said a search at Felton’s home revealed 9oz of cannabis, clear plastic packaging, plastic bags, £100 in cash and a debtors’ list.

He said more cannabis was found at Lowther Court and Graham’s fingerprints were found on the bag in which it was contained, in a manner which told experts he had wrapped the package.

Mr. David Farley, for Tinkler and Graham, said that Graham accepted that he was to be sentenced for his part, but maintained his innocence.

He said Tinkler has made a great deal of progress since the offence through a Thinking Skills course.

While he had taken “the easy option” and decided to deal cannabis in order to be able to afford Christmas presents for his children, he now understood this was the wrong course of action in the longer term, for his children as well as himself.

Miss Rachel Faux, for Felton, said she had needed the money because her former partner had left her in debt. She added that she had lost her job of 12 years as a result of the offence, but had quickly obtained alternative employment, and was a hard worker.

Mr. Mark Shepherd, for Harold, said his client was a drug user, but had no connection to the other three, and his involvement had only been in possessing the drug.

Judge Peter Hughes QC said he accepted that Felton and Graham had played a lesser role than Tinkler, and that Harold was in possession of the drug only.

He took action with regard to a prior suspended prison sentence of which Tinkler was in breach in committing this offence. In addition to the suspended sentence, he sentenced Tinkler to 30 days of rehabilitation, 150 hours of unpaid work and a 15-week curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am at his mother’s address at Raiselands Croft, Penrith. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £140.

“You have been given a real opportunity by this sentence. If you fail to take it, I’m afraid the prison doors will be wide open waiting to receive you,” the judge told Tinkler.

Felton was given 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge; Graham was given 120 hours of unpaid work, plus an £85 victim surcharge; and Harold was fined £165, plus a £30 victim surcharge.