A former chef who hit hard times ended up in handcuffs – after going to fetch his wallet from lost property.
Christopher Brown returned to Stoke Railway Station to see if his wallet had been handed in.
But staff would not give it to him as it contained nine wraps of suspected drugs.
Tests later revealed two contained heroin but the other seven, which the defendant believed were cocaine, were not drugs.
Brown, who is of no fixed address and has been living in a tent, pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug.
The offence placed the 34-year-old in breach of a 10-month suspended jail sentence he received for fraud at Northampton Crown Court in March.
Prosecutor Jas Dhaliwal told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court: “On July 14 the police were called to Stoke Railway Station. The defendant was attempting to claim a lost wallet from the station. Staff had found nine individual wraps inside the wallet.
“The defendant spoke to the police. He admitted he had heroin and crack cocaine in the wallet and he was arrested. The wraps were tested. Only two of the nine wraps were heroin. The other seven were found not to be cocaine.”
The defendant said he bought the drugs for personal use.
The offence placed him in breach of the suspended sentence he received for fraud. He was sentenced to 10 months, suspended for 12 months, with a rehabilitation activity requirement for 30 days and 80 hours unpaid work.
Mr Dhaliwal said: “Between December 2018 and November 2019 the defendant worked as a chef at Seasons Garden Centre Cafe (in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire).
“He fraudulently manufactured fictitious invoices to the value of £14,000 from a supplier to the cafe. He paid himself in cash from the till to the value of those invoices.”
Ben Lawrence, mitigating, said the defendant’s compliance with the suspended sentence order had been excellent and added he had been punctual, polite and engaging.
He said: “The defendant is an intelligent young man with significant prospects who was blighted at the time by the use of class A drugs.
“He is struggling with class A drugs and wishes to have support. He has been living in a tent in recent times. He is homeless.”
Judge Sally Hancox marked the breach of the suspended sentence by handing Brown an extra 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
And she sentenced him to a six-month conditional discharge for the drugs matter.
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Judge Hancox said: “You had bought the nine wraps with a view to using. It seems seven of the nine wraps did not contain anything that was worth your money at all. You were conned by those who would deal to you.
“In reality I have to sentence you for two wraps of heroin.
“No-one is going to say ridding yourself of drugs is easy. It takes time, it takes help.
“I am not going to put in place any or all of the suspended term of imprisonment. It would be unjust to do so.
“People do not give up drugs overnight. You are now subject to a methadone prescription assisting you. You are engaging well with the probation service. In my judgement it would be unjust to put in place a custodial term because it would undo the good work that has been done.”
The judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.
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