POLICE who stopped and searched a teenager’s car on a residential road in Carlise found evidence of cannabis street dealing.

One of the two men in the Audi car – who were both aged in their late teens at the time in December, 2020 – was offering customers the chance to "try it before you buy it", Carlisle Crown Court heard.

A judge had passed sentence on both the car's driver, Jack Donald, 22, and his friend Bradley Austin, 21, after they admitted drugs offences.

Austin admitted possessing the class B drug with intent to supply while both defendants admitted being concern in the supply of the drug.

Prosecutor Tim Evans outlined the facts. He said that the defendants – aged 18 and 19 respectively when they were caught during the covid lockdown – were arrested after police stopped the Audi as Donald drove it on Scalegate Road, Carlisle.

This was on December 5, 2020.

“A male got out of the front passenger seat as the officers approached,” said Mr Evans. “They opened the driver’s door and there was a strong smell of cannabis.”

Taking the keys of the driver, identified as Donald, the officers then searched the car, though Donald told them that the items in the car had nothing to do with him.

Inside the car, police found cannabis with a potential street value of up to £4,750 as well as a set of electronic scales.  Austin had £2,750 hidden in an envelope in his trousers.

The court also heard evidence of drug dealing that was recovered from the defendant’s mobile phones. The messages included enquiries about the cost of drugs.

In one message on Austin’s phone, he told a prospective customer: “You can try before you buy.” The person replied with the words: “Sound, bro. Looks well. Will do me; I know good [drugs] when I see it.”

Marion Weir, for Austin, of Cragg Road, Cleator Moor, said that in the two and a half years since police caught the defendants he had taken steps to change his life. “He’d applied to join the Army and for various reasons that did not go ahead,” explained the barrister.

“As a result, and due to his immaturity, he found his way into going down that track of criminality.” But there had been no further offending and Austin was now near to completing an apprenticeship.

Mark Shepherd, for Donald, of The Square, Allonby, said the defendant became involved to meet the costs of his own cannabis habit, to which he was at the time fully addicted.

 “He is now completely drug free,” said the lawyer.

Showing determination, the defendant had set up his own business. At the time of his offending, suffering from poor mental health, he had self-medicated with cannabis.

Judge Richard Archer told Donald that his offending was not as simple as him allowing Austin to use his car for short periods because the police analysis of his phone showed that he was selling the drug on a small scale, no doubt to people he knew.

Both defendants’ phones contained evidence of drug trading

The judge noted that there was no explanation of why the case took so long to get to court but the effect was that both defendants had the case hanging over them and during that time they have matured.

“You have shown you are capable of leading law-abiding lives,” said the judge.

Austin was given a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work; while Donald was given an 18-month order, with 20 rehabilitation activity days, as well as 80 hours of unpaid work.