POLICE officers investigating the burglary of a Basingstoke shed discovered its owner was a cannabis dealer, a court heard.
Prosecutor David Reid told Winchester Crown Court that officers detected a “strong smell of cannabis” when they were called to the home of Timothy Townsend, in Kenilworth Road, Winkle-bury, in the early hours of July 24.
They saw the 22-year-old at a top floor window, and called him down to talk about the break-in at the garden shed, but reported that he “appeared to be stalling” when asked to open the door.
When he came to the door, officers noticed traces of cannabis at his feet, and after searching the shed, found evidence of a “significant cannabis operation”, the court was told.
It was not made clear in court who had reported the burglary. But Mr Reid said two weighing scales, deal bags, a Blackberry smart phone, and Sony Ericsson mobile, were later recovered from the property, as well as a black bin liner with 182 grams of the drug.
Mr Reid said police analysis of the phones’ text messages found evidence of dealing to friends and family.
He said Townsend would spend £1,200 buying 250grams of cannabis roughly every two weeks, and sell 28gram bags to friends and family at £5 lower than the street value, as well as helping himself to an ounce of the drug for his own habit. He added Townsend had been a heavy user for “many years”.
Andrew Horsell, defending, said his client had been involved “in a small selling operation, providing his friends and peers with cannabis for what appears to be a non-profitable basis”.
He said Townsend, who admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply, was not a “hardened street dealer”.
Passing sentence, Judge Peter Henry said Townsend had been buying a considerable amount of the class B drug. He said: “I am quite unable to find that you played a lesser role. Despite the fact that the group you were supplying to was quite small – you were doing the purchasing, cutting up, and selling, and you were reaping the benefits. There must be an immediate custodial sentence for a case a serious as this.”
The court heard that Townsend, who was sentenced to eight months in jail, had previously received an £80 fixed-penalty notice on August 27, 2010 after being found in possession of cannabis.