A cannabis smuggler from Leamington has avoided a jail sentence ‘by the skin of his teeth’.
Jake Brown, 33, of Avenue Road, was caught trying to sneak £700 worth of cannabis into the country in a parcel of toys from Canada by customs officers.
Despite admitting he sold some to his friends and pleading guilty to evading the prohibition on the importation of cannabis and possessing a quantity of the drug at Warwick Crown Court, he was not jailed.
Brown was instead sentenced to ten months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and to comply with a 7pm to 6am curfew for three months.
Prosecutor Alexandra Kettle-Williams said in September last year customs officers intercepted a parcel from Canada which was said to contain a toy set.
But as well as the toy set, the parcel, addressed to Brown, contained 727 grams of herbal cannabis – which could have a street value of up to £10 a gram.
When Brown was later arrested he was found to have 50 grams of cannabis, which he admitted possessing for his own use.
Tom Schofield, defending, argued Brown had no relevant previous convictions.
He added: “He seems to have had a significant cannabis abuse habit, but he has voluntarily referred himself to the Recovery Partnership and has been clear of cannabis now for four months.”
He said that although Brown did not enter his pleas when he appeared in the magistrates’ court, ‘this was never going to be a contested trial.’
Mr Schofield added that Brown, a self-employed plasterer, ‘is a responsible father,’ and although he is not with his seven-month-old child’s mother any more, he still contributes to the family.
Judge Stephen Eyre QC told Brown: “I have to sentence you for the importation of cannabis you obtained using the dark web. You used it yourself and you sold it to your friends.
“There must have been a significant degree of sale to your friends, because scales and dealer bags were found.
“But you have previous convictions only for driving with excess alcohol and associated matters, and you have a good work record and have acted responsibly towards your child.
“I also take account of the fact that you have got yourself clear of the use of cannabis.”
“Rather against my better judgement, and by the skin of your teeth, I have decided I can suspend it.”
But Judge Eyre warned Brown: “I am reserving to myself any breaches of this order. You will go to prison if you’re back in front of me, because I will know you have thrown this chance back in my face.”