The pair, who were caught red-handed, claimed they were only trying to pay off debts (Picture: Cavendish Press)
A father-of-one caught with nearly £150,000 worth of cannabis tried to pass it off as his personal lockdown stash, a court has heard.
Tony Partington, 30, claimed he planned to smoke the 15-kilo haul himself after his friend was busted driving sacks of weed to his home in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Spencer Candland, 37, was pulled over by an officer who spotted a ‘suspicious’ white Ford Focus which came to a stop outside Partington’s address on February 7.
Two vacuum-sealed bags weighing a total of 13kg were found in the car, prompting a search of the address which uncovered another 2kg in the pantry.
The street value of the find was said to be worth between £124,000 and £145,000.
Jurors heard how Partington told detectives he was stockpiling it ‘for his own use’ but later admitted he was dealing the drugs and dismissed his excuse as a ‘joke’.
Candland also admitted possessing Class B substances with intent to supply and the pair have now been jailed for two years and four months each.
Partington played the leading role but ‘both did this to gain a financial advantage’, prosecutors said. Both defendants were said to have been selling drugs to pay off debts.
Some of the seized weed displayed in a police photograph (Picture: Cavendish Press)
Partington admitted to dealing drugs and said he was struggling to pay debts (Picture: Cavendish Press)
Partington’s conviction is the 17th offence on his record, including drug-related matters in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018. He was jailed previously for 18 months for drug-related offences.
The court heard how he told his police interviewer: ‘I have f***ed it, I am going back to jail. I have to sort my life out.’
Defence lawyer Brendan O’Leary said in mitigation: ‘He admitted the offence at the scene and it is a sorry tale.
‘He was released from custody after serving a sentence for producing cannabis, debt followed him, and foolishly did this to pay off the debt he was already involved with.
Candland, who also pleaded guilty, said he too was trying to pay debts (Picture: Cavendish Pres)
‘This man has ability, and he has intelligence. He is the father of a seven-year-old daughter and says the loss of contact with his daughter in custody is tough, as he has only been able to have telephone contact. He knows he only has himself to blame.
‘He hopes he can use his talent and put his ability in plastering to proper use.’
For Candland, Daniel Calder said: ‘His mental health has deteriorated from being in significant debt. He has not been living a lavish lifestyle for the production and sale of drugs.
‘He is a carer for his mother and grandmother, does not use drugs, and this was not done for commercial profit.
Sentencing, Mark Rhind QC said: ‘This house was being used to store and distribute cannabis. Frankly it seems to you that was an easy way for you to make money but there is no easy way of making money risk free.’
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