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Caught drugs carrier 'was also a victim'.

Byline: Report by Nick Humphreysnick.humphreys@mnamedia.co.uk

A DRUG addict caught transporting wraps of heroin and crack cocaine on his motorbike was as much a victim as he was a perpetrator, according to a judge.

Paul Anthony Arnold, aged 57, tried to evade police in Whitchurch when they signalled to pull him over on July 20, 2017. He was found to have the drugs in his possession, bagged up into street deal parcels. Shrewsbury Crown Court heard Arnold was "vulnerable", and someone preyed upon by County Lines dealers to transport drugs.

Ms Alison Whalley, prosecuting, said: "It was about 7.40pm when police requested him to stop.

"He refused to stop and turned into a number of junctions. His bike eventually got stuck and an officer grabbed him to stop him from running off. He had 15 wraps of heroin and 16 wraps of crack cocaine, in total worth about PS310."

Exploited Arnold, of Queensway, Whitchurch, admitted two charges of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.

Mr Kevin Jones, defending Arnold, said: "This is a case of a very vulnerable man who has dipped in and out of drugs and has been exploited. Your Honour knows about the development of County Lines. They target people like Mr Arnold."

He also said that the reason Arnold didn't stop for police was that his partner had told him if he got involved in drugs again, the relationship would be over. Mr Jones added: "People like Mr Arnold are easy targets for drug dealers."

Judge Anthony Lowe told Arnold: "Vulnerable people who are addicted to drugs are regularly used by people higher up in the chain. You know that you were transporting these drugs for somebody else to use them. You were part of the process.

"It is always very difficult when somebody like you comes before the court. You are as much a victim as you are a perpetrator."

He handed Arnold an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He also gave him a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and ordered him to carry out 40 rehabilitation requirement days.

He ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.

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Publication:Shropshire Star (Shropshire, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2019
Words:362
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