AN Army veteran and dad-of three is starting a lengthy jail term after being stopped with almost a quarter of kilo high purity cocaine on the A66.

John Patrick, 40, was caught red-handed near Keswick as he made a single trafficking trip from Leeds to West Cumbria as a criminal courier on 9th December, 2021.

He was initially co-operative but appeared nervous and gave conflicting details about his journey. When told by police his vehicle would be searched, Patrick became obstructive.

“He tried to escape by pushing the officers and a PC took hold off him,” prosecutor Andrew Evans told Carlisle Crown Court. “There began a 10-minute struggle in which he was trying to get to his car and he kicked and punched out at the officer who was trying to restrain him.

"The officer was kicked to the upper body and the defendant was swinging his arms violently.”

Patrick was taken to the floor and the struggle continued. “As he was being restrained a package fell from his person,” said the prosecutor. That contained 245g of 76 per cent purity cocaine potentially worth up to £24,500.

“He apologised to the officer and said he panicked,” added Mr Evans. When Patrick’s home was searched, five wraps of cocaine were found along with £120 cash, weighing scales bearing white powder and four envelopes with names and amounts. The substance was to be peddled among a small number of friends.

Patrick admitted twice possessing cocaine with intent to supply on an agreed basis. He became involved amid pressure from another man to repay an earlier favour, the court heard. That man — known to the police and involved in drug supply — had acted as a guarantor on an urgent loan required by Patrick.

The defendant made only one drug-related trip to Leeds with all arrangements made by the other man, and had felt “under pressure” to comply.

He also admitted assaulting an emergency worker.

Marion Weir, mitigating, said there had been a “downward turn” in Patrick’s life following an exemplary discharge from Army service. “It is clear he became involved in this at the behest of someone he initially trusted,” said Miss Weir.

A man of previous good character with three young children who had been head-hunted for his current employment, he was backed by impressive references.

“The matter has been hanging over the defendant and has had a torturous effect,” said Miss Weir of a delay in bringing Patrick to court.

“He can make right that which has been wronged.”

But pleas for a suspended prison sentence failed as Recorder Tony Hawks jailed Patrick, of Clarack Drive, Moor Row, for three years in recognition of his “significant” criminal role.

“It is very sad that somebody in your position who has so much to offer has fallen so low,” said the judge.

“But it seems to me I have got no option but to send you directly to prison today. I’m going to make that prison sentence as short as I can in the circumstances.”