COLNE: Jail for pub boss turned cocaine dealer

A FORMER Colne publican who turned into a cocaine dealer with a £200 a week addiction has started a three year, four month jail term.

Geoffrey Stubbs had a bag of the drug at his home when police raided it in January last year. He also had texts related to supply on his mobile phone, cash to the tune of £1,200 in a safe and a “grey metal gun.” He was arrested, claimed any drugs he had were for his own use, told police he was not involved in selling and blamed his lodger, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Stubbs, who recently worked at Silentnight in Barnoldswick, had made a “real attempt” to kill himself as he was awaiting sentence and had been remanded in custody for his own protection, the hearing was told. He admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply and 10 counts of offering to supply the drug.

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The defendant (43), of Tennyson Road, Colne, was said to be “lightly convicted”. He will face a proceeds of crime hearing at a later date.

Recorder Richard Pearce told him: “Class A drugs like cocaine cause utter misery to people. They destroy lives and it’s for that reason the courts will not tolerate dealing in such drugs. This was an operation of some sophistication, even if you were led into it by other people, or another person.”

Mrs Simeon Evans (prosecuting) said police found just under half a gram of cocaine at the defendant’s home. The messages on his mobile phone related to a period between December, 2009 and January last year.

The phone was examined and found to contain texts asking for drugs, in some cases to be “laid on” - on tick. Stubbs was arrested and said he had a £200 a week cocaine habit. He denied supplying or offering to supply any drugs and blamed someone who lived in his house for the dealing going on there.

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Mr Martin Hackett, for the defendant, said he persisted in the assertion there was a lodger involved but he did accept he was involved in offering to supply drugs. He accepted the telephone was his and that he was passing messages on to someone who lived in the house at the time.

He was addicted to cocaine for a short period of time but after the lodger moved out, he went to seek help with his habit. The defendant was involved in supplying to people he already knew and was not doing it on street corners.He had never been to custody before.

Mr Hackett said Stubbs was a publican in the Colne area for some time and helped the police set up a system to try and stop trouble in pubs. He was working at Silentnight before his arrest.

The barrister added: “In many ways, these actions are out of character for him. He is assessed as being a low risk of harm to the public. This case has had a profound effect upon him.”

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Speaking after sentencing, PC David Cottam said: “Stubbs is a prolific drug dealer who brought cocaine onto the streets of East Lancashire and I am pleased with the sentence.

“His drug dealing activities had a considerably negative impact within the local community.

“We are committed to removing drug dealers from our communities and I urge anyone with information or concerns about drugs in their neighbourhood to contact the police.”