Magistrate urges 18-year-old man to ‘escape from drugs’

Bury Magistrates Court
Bury Magistrates Court
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A magistrate has urged an 18-year-old man ‘to take the opportunity to escape from drugs’ after he was found with cannabis and cocaine while the subject of a conditional discharge.

Richard Kemp, presiding magistrate at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court, made the warning to Shaun Leeks, who admitted possessing 14 grams of cannabis and 3.5 grams of cocaine on May 1.

He said: “You’re a young man of 18 years of age - your whole life before you.

“For goodness sake take the opportunity to escape from drugs.

“Every week I come to this court and see people who haven’t escaped from drugs and their lives are ruined.”

Godfried Duah, prosecuting, said police saw Leeks, of Norman Road, Bury, driving a car, in Tollgate Lane, and pulled him over because a nearside light was not illuminated.

There were three others in the vehicle and officers found a set of scales as well as two jam jars containing cannabis.

Mr Duah said: “When he was asked who owned the cannabis, he indicated that it was his.

The officers then proceeded to search his home address and they found a small quantity of cocaine.”

The value of the cocaine was about £120 with the cannabis at about £50.

On March 25, he was granted a 12 month conditional discharge for possession of cannabis by the same court.

Lyndon Davies, in mitigation, said Leeks had suffered ‘family problems’ over the last year and had ‘lost some close family members’.

He added: “That’s perhaps one of the reasons behind his drug misuse.”

Magistrates revoked his conditional disharge and sentenced him to a 12 month community order with 120 hours unpaid work, £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.

The drugs and scales are to be forfeited and destroyed.

Asked by the Bury Free Press about the magistrate’s comments, Chip Somers, chief executive of rehab charity Focus12, said the warning was ‘right’.

He said: “The earlier you catch it the less physical damage, social and criminal consequences there are.”