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Six year sentence for man who used friend's Marlborough house as base for drug dealing

Scott Finlay, who used to work for The Guardian and was caught with £15,000 worth of cocaine while on bail for street dealing the drug, has been jailed for six years and four months.

 Finlay was first operating out of a room in a friend's house in Marlborough where he also got his landlord involved in selling hard drugs to addicts.   And while on bail the 42-year-old moved into an Amesbury hotel, using his room there as a base for the trade in cocaine and cannabis.

 

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the first offences took place in Marlborough last year.  He said that on March 10 his landlord Gareth Bartlett, 27, was found in the street with drugs and his home in Maurice Way was searched.

In the house they found about 3oz of crack, worth £8,000, and in Finlay's room a small hydroponics set-up for growing cannabis - which could have yielded £2,100.

When the phone being used by Bartlett was examined it became clear from texts that his lodger had been using him to sell drugs on his behalf.

Finlay was on bail when police in Amesbury stopped his car on Boscombe Road last November and found him in possession of some cannabis and £2,500 in cash.   An officer recalled seeing his vehicle leaving the Antrobus Arms Hotel in the town a number of times and it was discovered he had a room there.

Staff said he had had been paying £250 a week for the past six weeks and asked for the room not to be cleaned and never came to breakfast.

When it was searched police found more than £15,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis worth in excess of £1,500, as well as 200g of bicarb, used for cutting cocaine.   Officers also seized an expensive Omega watch and his phone.  He refused to give up the phone’s PIN number.

Finlay, who gave the court an address in Andover pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing drugs with intent to supply and producing cannabis.

Nick Clough, defending said his client had worked at The Guardian for 20 years before being made redundant.   He claimed a mid life crisis had led to him turning to hard drugs and after running up debts, he said he was told he could only pay them off by dealing.

Mr Clough said his client was only ever a 'runner' for those higher up and was not living a life of luxury on the back of his crime.  He said the watch was a gift from his late father and he hoped to be able to avoid it being confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Jailing him Recorder Jason Taylor said "You were not, in my judgement, as naive as is being suggested today."  He also ordered he hand over £4,850 in the next three months or face four months added to his sentence.

At an earlier hearing Bartlett, now of Cloatley Close, Royal Wootton Bassett, admitted possessing cocaine with intent so supply and allowing his premises to be used for the production of cannabis.  He was handed a two year jail term suspended for 24 months with 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 120 hours unpaid work.

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