No jail for cocaine dealer who allowed cannabis factory at his home

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Swindon Crown CourtSwindon Crown CourtA man who allowed his lodger to set up a drug dealing enterprise from his rented home has been given a chance by a judge.

Gareth Bartlett and his flatmate had thousands of pounds worth of cocaine in the property they were sharing.

And when police raided the apartment on Thursday March 10 last year they also found a cannabis farm had been set up in the other man's room.

But after hearing Bartlett had got himself off drugs and was trying to get back in work in the horse racing world a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court police executed a warrant at the 27-year-old's then home on Maurice Way, Marlborough.

Inside she said they found three ounces of cocaine in the powdered form which had a street value of almost £8,000.

And when Bartlett's mobile phone was examined it was found to be littered with messages relating to the sale of the drug.

Miss Squire said that in one five hour period he made around £1,000 from the sale of cocaine adding 'It is supply on a relatively lucrative basis'.

When he was questioned he told officers that while he knew about the cannabis plants, they were not his.

He said that he did not know about the cocaine but she said he clearly now accepted his role in the supply of the drug.

Bartlett, of Cloatley Close, Royal Wootton Bassett, admitted possessing cocaine with intent so supply and allowing his flat to be used for the production of cannabis

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a second man, Scott Finlay, 42, of Kings Close, Andover, after he failed to attend court facing the cocaine charge.

Alex Daymond, defending, said Bartlett had allowed his friend to become a lodger and soon found out he was dealing drugs.

He said his client had become addicted to cocaine as a result of his flatmate moving in and then moved on to supplying it for him.

"For a few months he accepts he went out on Mr Finlay's behalf and supply cocaine and heroin. He is not proud of what he did," he said.

As a result of his drug use he said his partner, with whom he has a child. left him, he lost his home as he couldn't pay the rent and he struggled to keep work.

He said he was now managed to get off drugs, is back with his girlfriend and keen to get back working in racing stables.

Passing sentence Recorder James Townsend said "There is only one reason why I am not going to send you to prison today and that is because your have not done this before.

"You richly deserve a prisons sentence and you are going to get a suspended one. You were greatly involved over a period of time in the supply of drugs.

"If you were to come back before this court or any court for anything to do with drugs, even if you had a relatively small quantity with intent to supply, the type of sentence you would be looking at before the suspended sentence would be three-and-a-half-years.

"If it is within two years then you would get five-and-a-half-years and you could wave goodbye to your relationship with your child and any chance of a sensible job in the future.

"I have given you a chance: take it, because it is the one chance you are going to get in relations to drugs."

He imposed a two year jail term suspended for 24 months with 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 120 hours unpaid work.