Spot of bad luck lands Barnstaple man with conditional discharge for drug possession
"A SPOT of bad luck" landed an unemployed painter and decorator with a six-month conditional discharge for possession of cannabis.
Jules McHugh, 20, of 20 Stoat Park, Whiddon Valley, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to possession of 55.1 grams of the class B drug when he appeared at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday.
Mark Haddow, for the prosecution, told magistrates police had found McHugh with the drugs after being called to his house because the burglar alarm was going off on November 2 last year.
"It was a spot of bad luck for the defendant," he said. "A neighbour alerted the police to the alarm going off and when they arrived they saw the defendant in the house doing something on the floor."
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After entering the house and asking who McHugh was the police smelt cannabis and found several small bags of it.
McHugh immediately said it was his and directed the officers to another bag of 37 grams of cannabis in his car.
Rod Ball, for the defence, said McHugh bought large amounts of cannabis as it was "simple economics".
"It's cheaper to buy in bulk," he said.
He explained how McHugh lives alone and has done since his parents moved away when he was 17.
"A year ago he had a burglary at his house in Newport and became very anxious," said Mr Ball.
"He moved and put an alarm on the property. It was linked to his phone so when it went off he went home and that's when the police came in."
Presiding magistrate Judith Kauntze, who gave McHugh credit for his co-operation and early guilty plea, handed him the conditional discharge and ordered him to pay costs of £40 and a victim surcharge of £15.