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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Carlisle man forced into drug dealing after running up debt

A would-be dealer addicted to cannabis says he was being forced into selling drugs after being threatened over a debt.

Dean Paton photo
Dean Paton

Former tattoo parlour boss Dean Paton was caught with £1,000-worth of the drug – but has narrowly avoided being sent straight to prison.

The 38-year-old was arrested when police raided his house and found a bag containing 100g of marijuana on February 21.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that Paton, of River Street, off Broad Street in Carlisle, told officers that he had been forced to sell the drug after running into debt with his own dealer.

He admitted a charge of possessing the drug with intent to supply.

Becky McGregor, prosecuting, said: “He told police he did it to pay debts, that he was addicted to cannabis and that he had smoked it for years.

“He said he was threatened and they said he would have to start dealing to raise cash.”

A bag containing £1,300 was seized by police, but this was returned after it was accepted the money belonged to his wife.

The court heard that Paton has no previous convictions.

David Wales, defending, said: “He had, in 2011, a business of his own – a tattoo parlour.

“Unfortunately, that business was unsuccessful and the closure of that business caused a great deal of strain with his self confidence.

“In spite of his loss of confidence he has remained in work throughout.”

Sentencing, Judge Barbara Forrester said: “This situation got out of control. You say you were being threatened and that you had to sell cannabis and that’s the cannabis that was found in your house.

“It’s clear from the pre-sentence report that being arrested has brought you to your senses.”

Paton was given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for a year, a 12-month supervision order, and a two-month curfew from 10pm until 9am.

He was ordered to pay £340 prosecution costs.

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