Published: 00:01, 15 December 2016
An ice cream man who regularly served children was discovered to be dabbling in the sordid world of drugs, a court heard.
Roger Skelton had been addicted for 23 years before police caught him with heroin and cocaine hidden in his body.
While released on bail he was found to be growing 20 cannabis plants at his home, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
But the 49-year-old father, of Woolwich Close, Chatham, was spared an immediate jail term when he appeared for sentence for possessing drugs with intent to supply.
Skelton was said to run a lucrative, seasonal business visiting schools, fairs and fetes as an ice cream seller.
In February last year, police officers became suspicious when they saw Skelton fidgeting in his car.
It was when he was arrested and strip-searched that an object was seen hanging from his buttocks.
He was taken to hospital for an X-ray but it was not until later that a package containing 19.9g of heroin and 3.16g of crack cocaine was found in the footwell of a police car where he had been sitting.
Prosecutor Claire Cooper said it was clear from the condition of the package it had been inside Skelton’s body.
He admitted the offences, claiming he was acting as a courier to finance his heroin addiction.
The court heard his wife left him after his arrest. A probation officer said Skelton would keep his habit away from the family home and used heroin at friends’ houses, smoking and injecting £35 worth a day.
Susan Rodham, defending, said Skelton’s arrest had been “a shock to the system” which gave him the desire to give up drugs and be reunited with his wife.
“What he has done, remarkably after 23 years addiction, is keep himself drug-free,” she said. “He has done marvellous work under his own volition and has the support of his wife.”
Judge Philip Statman sentenced him to 21 months imprisonment suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.
Skelton was sentenced in February by magistrates for cultivating cannabis. He was given a 12-month community order with 100 hours unpaid work.
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