Dealer (56) sold 'pot to get by'

PUBLISHED: 07:21 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 24 May 2010

A GRIEVING drug addict who supplied cannabis to friends to fund his addiction has walked out of court with a suspended prison sentence. John Stone had become addicted to cannabis during a three-year prison sentence for possessing cocaine with intent to s

A GRIEVING drug addict who supplied cannabis to friends to fund his addiction has walked out of court with a suspended prison sentence.John Stone had become addicted to cannabis during a three-year prison sentence for possessing cocaine with intent to supply in French Guiana.He continued the habit when he was released from prison in 2001 after hearing his son had been killed in Lanzarote, Spain.Stone, aged 56, of Lower Church Road, Weston, was rumbled when police launched an anti drugs operation and searched his flat on January 13.He admitted two charges of possessing cannabis resin with intent to supply and was handed a 35-week prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also told to complete a drug offending programme.Christopher Ferguson, prosecuting at Bristol Crown Court, said officers discovered cannabis resin and cannabis bush worth £1,218, together with electronic weighing scales, a grinder and re-sealable bags at the defendant's home.He said Stone arrived home during the search and admitted he was carrying some "bags of block and a couple of bags of loose."The defendant explained he was not dealing in class A drugs but was "selling a bit of pot to get by."When he was interviewed he explained he had been unemployed for three months and was living on benefits and that he sold the drugs to his friends.Mr Ferguson said the defendant had 26 previous convictions, including one in November 1999 when he was jailed for possessing class A drugs with intent to supply in French Guiana.Kannan Siva, defending, said his client had been convicted in 1999 on the basis that he was a drugs courier.He said he had developed a habit of smoking cannabis to get through the prison sentence.Telling how Stone then discovered his son had been killed he said: "On his release in May 2001 there was a tragic loss in Lanzarote. He was looking forward to seeing his son, but tragically he lost him. He had arranged to meet up with him in Spain."He said Stone had now been drug free for four months and had been offered work in sales by his previous employer.Sentencing Stone, Judge Carol Hagen told him drug dealers normally go to prison but she could suspend his sentence.She said: "At the time you were found in possession of cannabis you were highly addicted yourself. You have taken steps to free yourself of that addiction. You, in my view, deserve credit for that."You stopped abusing alcohol and found yourself work. I accept this supply was on a limited basis to people who knew you and were already using cannabis.

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