Pendle teenagers running skunk cannabis operation from caravan

First published in Pendle

TWO teenagers were running a skunk cannabis supply business from a caravan, a court was told.

Burnley Crown Court heard how the young duo, both addicts, were caught dealing after police turned up and found drugs with a street value of more than £3,200.

Matthew Sampson, 18, who has a criminal record and was involved in the operation with a younger youth, repeatedly told officers as they searched the premises: "That's it for me. I'm going down now."

The hearing was told police discovered drugs-related text messages on mobile phones belonging to both defendants, from at least 11 different people, between last February 17 and March 4.

Sampson is said to suffer paranoia because of his drugs use. He and his 17-year-old accomplice, who was 16 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, both admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply, last March 4.

Sampson, of Leeds Road, Nelson, had five offences on his record. The 17-year-old, also from Nelson, had no previous convictions.

Judge Christopher Cornwall said he had been planning to send Sampson straight to custody and he was sparing him with ‘very considerable reservations,’ as custody should be the sentence.

He told the defendant the only thing that had made him draw back and think twice was the fact ‘there wasn't all that much to put between’ Sampson and the younger defendant.

The judge told the 17-year-old: "A combination of the fact you were 16 at the time and are of previous good character, really makes it quite difficult to send you to detention.That might be the attitude of the court. Ordinary, decent people take the view you should just go down."

Sampson was given eight months in detention, suspended for a year, with 12 months' supervision and 100 hours unpaid work. The 17-year- old received a youth rehabilitation order, with 12 months' supervision and 100 hours unpaid work.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said police went to the caravan after information and it smelled strongly of cannabis. They found two bags of cannabis on a worktop, more drugs in a safe and they also discovered two air rifles and three cannabis grinders. Sampson had £160 rolled up in a cigarette packet.

Miss Statham said the police recovered a total of 323 grams of cannabis, worth £3,230 on the streets .

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