Published: 17:36, 24 January 2020
A drug dealer’s home was strewn with so many used hypodermic needles police were forced to abandon their search.
Officers were alerted to crack cocaine and heroin dealer Mark Wilkinson following reports of suspicious behaviour in Folkestone.
When they stopped the 36-year-old in Grove Road he appeared “shocked and nervous” on the morning of November 13, Canterbury Crown Court heard today.
Prosecutor Tom Dunn went on: “They stopped and searched him, he appeared to be shocked and nervous and maintained he was a user, not a dealer.
“Police recovered a cheap Nokia phone that kept on ringing, they took him to the caravan where he resides but stopped the search because of the presence of hypodermics.”
Mr Dunn added Wilkinson was found with 81 wraps of the Class A drugs with a street value of between £800 - £1,600.
Mitigating, Phil Rowley explained his client’s life spiralled following his brother’s death, owed to drug use.
The barrister told Judge Mark Weekes Wilkinson began dabbling in drugs, became addicted, and so racked up a large debt.
“My client tells me that he was coerced, not in the legal sense, but obliged to deal drugs to pay off the debt,” he added.
He described Wilkinson as “articulate” and “sensible”, adding he has been tackling his addiction since being on remand. Wilkinson pleaded guilty at his first appearance in the crown court.
Judge Weekes told Wilkinson his previous criminal record, which wasn't read in court, was “poor”.
“But there is nothing as serious on your list as what you are to be sentenced for today,” he added.
"The class A drugs Wilkinson was trying to sell would have brought misery to the lives of those who bought them..." - DC Michael Sedden
Wilkinson, who spoke only to confirm his name and remained passive throughout the hearing, passed Judge Weekes a note before sentencing was carried out.
Judge Weekes referred to the circumstances Wilkinson’s addiction arose as “tragic” before sentencing him to three years in prison.
Detective Constable Michael Sedden, Kent Police's investigating officer in the case, said: "The class A drugs Wilkinson was trying to sell would have brought misery to the lives of those who bought them and to their families and the wider community.
"We will not hesitate to take drug dealers off the streets and I'm pleased this sentence will see Wilkinson unable to return to Folkestone for a significant amount of time."
More by this authorSean Axtell