A MAN who was arrested for punching someone was found to have cannabis on him which he claimed was bought from a Basingstoke shop, a court heard.

Ezra Puddy, previously of Bredels Field, Basingstoke, pleaded guilty at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on January 17 to common assault and being in possession of cannabis, after he was arrested on November 16 last year.

The 20-year-old, who is currently serving a six-month prison sentence for burglary, caused his victim minor injuries following the incident in Houndmills.

Prosecutor Kerry Richardson told the court that the victim, Thomas Townsend, was walking towards Houndmills roundabout when Puddy and another woman approached him in a car.

She said: “Mr Puddy grabbed hold of him and punched him. There was a witness who saw part of it but his view was somewhat obscured.”

She added: “He [Puddy] was arrested and then drugs are found.”

The other woman involved in the incident was given a conditional caution.

Puddy initially pleaded not guilty to being in possession of cannabis, because he believed the substance he had was legal, explained his defence barrister Marcus Sears.

He added: “This was purchased for Mr Puddy by a friend of his. What’s caused the confusion is it was purchased from a local shop and it has on the wrapper non-THC which is, you are aware, the illegal element. The CBD is the other aspect that’s permissible. It purports to be a legitimate purchase. He said ‘I think it’s not THC’. That’s what it said on the wrapper.”

However, the substance was sent for analysis and found to be cannabis, resulting in Puddy changing his plea to guilty.

Puddy told officers that the cannabis was bought by a friend from a Basingstoke shop.

As reported in the Gazette, officers searched the venue under suspicion of supplying class B drugs, prompting the owner to release a statement saying police were “misinformed”. It has since re-opened.

Mr Sears described the assault as “an unpleasant incident” but asked magistrates to take into consideration Puddy’s early guilty plea.

Magistrates sentenced him to two weeks in prison for common assault because of his “long history of previous convictions”, to run concurrently to his current sentence, with no separate sentence for the possession of cannabis.

Puddy was also ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge.