JAILED: Cannabis dealer found with £3,000 behind bars

Dealer jailed
Dealer jailed

A Nelson cannabis “street dealer” who had £3,000 stashed in his garage is back behind bars after being caught supplying drugs for the second time.

Wayne O’Gara (30), had a “tick list”, of customers, weighing scales with traces of cannabis and cocaine on them and supply-related messages on his mobile phone.

He was rumbled when police stopped him for erratic driving in his white van in the early hours, the Burnley Crown Court was told.

O’Gara claimed the garage was his office and the cash had been lent him by three people to set up a window cleaning business. He will now face a proceeds of crime hearing over the money.

Judge Andrew Woolman, who locked him up for 12 months, said: “For my part, I have some difficulty in accepting the money found in the garage was legitimate.”

The defendant was also sent to prison for a year in April 2011, for possessing amphetamine with intent to supply.

O’Gara, of Kingsley Street, admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis, between August 25th and September 15th, last year.

Karen Brooks (prosecuting), said that at 1-20am, last September 14th, police stopped the defendant who was at the wheel of a white van, on Regent Street, Nelson.

The vehicle was searched and recovered from inside were weighing scales, a mobile phone and a list of names with numbers next to them.

The defendant was told he would be strip searched at the police station and ran off as officers tried to put him in the police vehicle. He returned a short time later, with a snap bag of cannabis and was arrested.

Miss Brooks said the scales were analysed and showed traces of cocaine and cannabis. The defendant was questioned and claimed there would be no drugs references on his phone and he wasn’t involved in dealing.

The prosecutor continued: “The valuation officer analysed the texts he found on the mobile phone and found 12 drug dealing texts, between August 24th and September 13th.” The defendant had nine offences on his record.

Richard Taylor (defending) said he would say the list was jobs he was doing and money he had got for them.

Mr Taylor said: “Whilst he does not accept direct street dealing, he does accept supplying to a number of people as per the text messages.

“He accepts the drugs will have gone effectively onto the streets.”

Mr Taylor said the defendant used the garage as his office. He had needed money to buy the van he was stopped in, as he was setting up a window cleaning round. The solicitor added: “Three people had lent him £1,000 each.”

Mr Taylor continued: “I am not for one moment suggesting he didn’t make money, but that was in the main to fund his own habit.”

Sentencing, Judge Woolman told the defendant: “It’s clear that you were a fairly determined street level cannabis dealer at the time.”

“It may be that you have a habit yourself and it may be the profit from your dealing partly went to fund your own habit, but it’s accepted that you did make an overall profit.”

The judge said a seriously aggravating feature of the case was that 0’Gara was imprisoned for drug dealing in 2011. He added: “It seems to me that within not such a long time you are doing it again.”