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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Jury sifts through evidence in Cumbria drugs trial

A jury in a court case has spent three days sifting through evidence of the illegal drug known as “plant food”.

They donned gloves to handle some of the exhibits in the case at Carlisle Crown Court which included bags full of powder, capsules and illegal tablets estimated to be worth “thousands of pounds”.

Michael Cox, 28, of Station Road, Workington, Terry Hyde, 29, and Helen Hyde, 31, then of Burnswark Terrace in Silloth, deny five counts of conspiracy to supply a controlled drug between April 2010 and April 2011.

The jury have already been shown trays with a credit card and a lottery ticket which detective sergeant Matthew Scott of Workington CID said appeared to have been used as a “cutting device.”

The jury have also been shown drugs, grip seal bags, jiffy bags and photographs of price lists.

Andrew Ford, prosecuting, says that the trio knew plant food was no longer a “legal high” when they sold it nationally and internationally via an ostensibly legitimate online gardening business.

Yesterday the prosecution were shown what had been found in Cox’s room above a Workington newsagent. But Kim Whittlestone, defending Cox, stressed that no drugs had been found in the shop itself at the request of the defendant’s father.

Exhibits from Station Road, included a set of scales, a white pot full of powder and illegal yellow and blue tablets.

Police also found an estimated 14,000 capsules, a Perspex mixing bowl and a blender.

Paul Barnes, a now retired detective sergeant, had led the search on the room at Station Road.

He said that Cox, whose parents run the newsagents, had been in bed, when the police arrived to search his room.

Ms Whittlestone asked Mr Barnes if Cox had co-operated with police throughout the search.

He said: “He didn’t say a lot.”

“But he didn’t behave obstructively?”

“No, he didn’t”, said Mr Barnes.

In addition to the drugs found, Creatine was also found in the room. But David Pojur, defending Terry Hyde, said that in itself was “entirely legal” and available from high street stores like Holland and Barrett.

But the prosecution has argued that the powders like this can be used as bulking agent to make drugs go further.

At the time of the raid Cox and Terry Hyde had been equal partners in an internet business known as chemicalcartel.com which traded online under the name of H and C Garden Supplies.

The trial continues.

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