Judge shows mercy to drug dealer but warns next time will mean jail
A DRUG dealer who stashed cannabis in a nappy bag has been spared immediate custody.
Police stopped Edward Boxall when they became suspicious after a man got into his car, Bristol Crown Court heard.
Officers noticed "green vegetable matter" in the nappy bag, which was cannabis, and a search of the car turned up 29 small bags of the drug, which Boxall conceded weighed some four ounces.
Boxall, 39, a qualified gym and swimming instructor of Bishopthorpe Road, Bristol, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
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Judge Julian Lambert asked him if he could clear brambles, paint or pick up litter, and Boxall said he would do whatever the judge required.
Judge Lambert handed him a four months' jail term, suspended for two years, with two years' supervision, a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work for the good of the community.
The judge told him: "The order is the direct alternative to a short spell inside, in the language of the criminal. If you resort to cannabis again, we are finished and I will lock you up."
Paul Connell, prosecuting, said police stopped Boxall as he drove a Renault on Berkeley Road, Bishopston, on June 28.
Cannabis found weighed 100g and Boxall declined to answer questions in interview.
The court heard Boxall had no previous drug offences and there was nothing on his criminal record since 1993.
Robyn Rowland, defending, said illness had caused his client to use drugs and he had fallen into debt with his dealers and was repaying it.
Mr Rowland said: "He has been engaging with Bristol Drugs Project for the last couple of months and doing very well.
"He is abstinent and he would welcome a drug rehabilitation requirement to make sure he stays that way."