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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Cumbria's top judge calls for mephedrone to be upgraded to Class A drug

Cumbria's top judge has called for mephedrone to be upgraded, saying there was ‘increasing concern’” about it in the county.

Paul Batty photo
Judge Paul Batty QC

Judge Paul Batty QC said that, if it was up to him, the drug should be Class A, not B, because of the effect it had and that he was aware of users losing all memory of their behaviour.

“It is causing particular concern because of the social implications and the corrosive effect it has on the youngsters who take it,” he said.

Judge Batty, Honorary Recorder at Carlisle Crown Court, said he had been made aware of a case where those who took the drug had no memory of the crimes they then went on to commit. “I have heard evidence where they have no recollection because of the effect it had on them,” he said.

The judge was speaking while sentencing 18-year-old Steven Liddle who admitted supplying mephedrone, and possessing it and ketamine.

Prosecutor Tim Evans said the police were interested in an accomplice of Liddle’s and Liddle was in his flat in Penrith when officers visited on March 3 last year.

“Steven Liddle was searched and he had two clear bags in his wallet containing ketamine and mephedrone,” he said.

“They also searched a carrier bag which was his and found clear bags which contained mephedrone. He had £330 in cash.”

Mr Evans described Liddle, of Linden Park, Temple Soweby, as acting “at the behest of another.”

He said his phone was examined and messages found which indicated “negotiations of street level dealing.”

“He told police he was a user of MCAT and said he would normally pay £25 a bag,” he added.

“In order to stay on the right side of his supplier he would sometimes drive him around when he was dealing drugs. He is a stupid young man who was acting on the suggestion of an older man.”

Judge Batty told Liddle that drug dealing was taken very seriously by the court.

“Mephedrone should be Class A, rather than Class B, so serious are the effects it has,” he said. “I am prepared to accept that you were acting under the influence of a more malign individual but you have been incredibly naive and stupid.”

He sentenced Liddle to a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years and ordered him to do 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also given a four month curfew from 7pm to 5am.

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