27th Oct, 2020

Man who bought heroin in bulk and sold to fellow addicts jailed

A MAN who bought heroin in bulk and sold it to fellow addicts to support his own habit has been jailed.

Antony Almond from Rugby had pleaded guilty to possessing the drug with intent to supply it, but denied more than £3,000 found during a police raid was the proceeds of his dealing.

And at Warwick Crown Court prosecutor Ben Close said a ‘pragmatic view’ had been taken on a charge of possessing criminal property – and the judge entered a not guilty verdict.

But Almond, 55, of Herdwick Court, Murray Road was jailed for two years and two months for the drugs charge.

Mr Close said in January last year police officers carried out a search at Almond’s home and found a piece of tin foil with a heroin residue on it.

Almond, whose 71 previous convictions included three for possessing heroin, told police he had just been smoking it and had more.

Officers found just over seven grams of heroin – enough to make 72 £10 deals.

They also found digital scales, some cannabis, although Almond was not charged in relation to that, and two smaller amounts of heroin worth a further £30.

In a cupboard they discovered £3,390 in cash, which was the subject of the criminal property charge, but which Almond maintained was the proceeds of betting on football matches.

Messages on Almond’s phone showed he had been dealing in heroin since November 2018.

And he pleaded guilty to that on the basis he was selling it to a group of friends to support his own habit, but did not sell to strangers.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation into Almond’s finances.

Mr Charvill said: “He is one of the older people who come before the court for this type of offence.

“He has a long history of the use of class A drugs.  He was selling directly to a limited number of users.  He was not street-dealing to strangers.

“He buys drugs and sells sufficient to cover his purchase of the bulk.  He was selling to people he knows, people who, like him, smoke the drug rather than inject it.”

Mr Charvill added that he had been taking steps to address his addiction and was on a Methadone prescription.

Jailing Almond, Judge Cooke told him: “It seems to me, even being as charitable as I can about what you were doing, it would be a misapplication of the guideline to regard this as a lesser role case.

“You were doing what you were doing, not on any large scale, I accept, motivated by financial gain.

“You certainly weren’t hanging around the school gates trying to get kids addicted.  You were an addict yourself, trying to make a bit of money on the side selling to other people who were addicted to it.

“But I am still dealing with you for dealing one of the most damaging and pernicious drugs on the market.”

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