A MOTORIST seen breaking the speed limit on the A69 near Brampton had cocaine worth more than £1,000 hidden in his underwear.

It was the second time 27-year-old Lewis Tarrant had become implicated in the drugs trade, though this time he was pressurised into helping dealers because he had previously lost drugs, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The defendant was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to possessing the drug with intent to supply.

Brendan Burke, prosecuting, said police were already “interested” in the defendant because of his previous relevant offence, possessing the same Class A drug with intent to supply.

For that offence, he was a 33-month jail term.

Of the latest offence, the prosecutor said: “The reason he was stopped was that he was driving over the speed limit; and he was also someone whom the police had a particular interest in.”

The search of his underwear revealed “three bars” of cocaine, 12.4g of the drug in total, with a value estimated to be between £992 and £1,240. “He immediately admitted at the scene that it was cocaine and chemical testing confirmed that to be right,” said the barrister.

Mr Burke said the defendant, of Henderson Road, Currock, Carlisle, was transporting the drugs “at the behest of those making threats”.

Jeff Smith, defending, said that after his earlier offence the defendant had buckled down, cooperated with the Probation Service, got himself a job, and moved on with his life.

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But the lawyer said: “In a small city like Carlisle, the past is never very far away from the present.” Tarrant’s past reared its ugly head as the dealers whose drugs he had lost demanded payment.

Then he was told the payment required would increase and it was this pressure and coercion that led to Tarrant committing the latest offence.

The lawyer continued: “He knew what was going to happen to him; he knew his arrest was eventually going to take place and he perhaps hoped that it would be sooner rather than later because his situation was out of control.”

Tarrant had been warned that if he failed to cooperate with the dealers his family would be in in danger.

Even a friend he had moved in with – to escape the dealers – was tracked down and told that his jaw would be broken if he did not help to make the defendant cooperate.

Recorder Julian Shaw praised the lawyer’s submissions, saying that as he prepared for the case he had believed his only decision would be about the length of an inevitable jail sentence.

But having heard the mitigation and having read a letter written by the defendant he had reconsidered.

The Recorder said he could not ignore that Tarrant had involved himself in criminality as a result of his earlier offending. It was well known drug dealers were more sophisticated those they exploited, said the judge.

They operated through fear and through a system of intimidation, said the judge. Their threats were not aimed solely at the defendant, but also at the most vulnerable members of Tarrant’s family.

The Recorder noted the defendant’s remorse and said he was willing to give him a chance. Recorder Shaw imposed six months jail, suspended for two years. The defendant must complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

“Don’t go near drugs again, Mr Tarrant,” added the judge. The defendant thanked the judge as he was released from the dock.

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