PUBLISHED: 08:45 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:53 06 September 2019
A 29-year-old caught with more than £3,000 worth of cannabis in a car he was driving said he was “grateful” to have been stopped by police, a court has heard.
Joseph Warren was caught driving a Land Rover Freelander vehicle in the South Lynn area with a “significant” amount of herbal cannabis, with an estimasted street value of £3,500.
Martin Ivory, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said police also found Warren to be in possession of a mobile phone with a message indicating the sale of the drugs following the stop on November 30 last year.
Warren, of Southgate Street, Lynn, appeared in court on Thursday (September 5) having pleaded guilty to one count of possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
Representing himself in court, Warren said he was “fully aware” of the criminal offence he had committed, adding he “deeply regretted” his involvement.
He said he owed £1,000 to a loan shark at the time of the offence having taken it out to pay for building materials for his carpentry business for a summer house project which he ultimately did not get paid for.
He said: “The customer changed their mind at the last minute.”
“I was placed under immense pressure with threats made against me and my family.
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“I was manipulated and forced into selling this product for them to repay back the debt I had accrued.”
He added: “I was actually grateful to the police officer who arrested me that night, as it took me away from the situation.”
Warren told the court he had since repaid the debt with money he had earned from his business.
Sentencing Warren to 12 months in custody, suspended for 18 months, Judge Stephen Holt gave Warren credit for his guilty plea and “fluent” testimony.
He said: “You’ve had a very difficult start in life and a traumatic childhood and witnessed some pretty terrible things.
“You were made homeless at 15.
“You appear to be remorseful and you’re working hard to better yourself.”
In addition to the suspended sentence, Warren, who was supported in court by his mother and girlfriend, was ordered to attend a thinking skills programme and complete 20 hours of rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR).
Full story is available here.