Slovakian labourer forced to sell drugs ‘happy to be jailed’

A SLOVAKIAN labourer made to sell heroin by villains who befriended him was relieved to get arrested and even happier to get a stretch behind bars, a court heard.

Monday, 17th October 2011, 8:00 pm

Stefan Kozak had been subjected to extreme violence, fled to London, but had been followed there, attacked again and brought back to the North West. He was held prisoner in a flat where he had to sell drugs out of the window and was then sent onto the streets where he was caught by police - and was thankful for it, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Kozak, who had been found with a stash of £10 street deals, had been bailed and then struck again three days later. The hearing was told how the defendant, who claimed he had been stabbed in the foot and hit with a hammer, had tried to seek help from the police before he was arrested.

The defendant (23), of Cambridge Street, Brierfield, had admitted two counts of possessing heroin with intent to supply and had been committed for sentence by magistrates. He was jailed for 21 months.

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Mr Stephen Parker (prosecuting) said, at 9-15 p.m. on September 5th, a police officer, alerted by a community support officer who thought he had seen a drugs transaction, approached the defendant and told him he was going to be searched. Kozak immediately produced from his jacket pocket a small yellow plastic container. He claimed the heroin in it - several wraps - was for his own use.

The defendant was arrested and taken into custody and when he was searched, a further plastic container containing knotted bags was found. Kozak, who had a total of 42 wraps, was released on bail.

Mr Parker said, three days later, an officer from the Targeted Crime Unit was in Sagar Street, Nelson, at 2-30 p.m. when he spotted the defendant, looking as if he was trying to hide his face. He was suspicious, went to speak to him, searched him and recovered £290 and £50 in cash. The defendant had a plastic bag containing heroin wraps up his jumper sleeve. He was arrested again after 40 wraps of drugs were recovered.

Mr Nick Dearing, for Kozak, said he came to this country seven years ago, spoke no English when he arrived but became fluent working as a builder’s labourer.

The defendant was living in a flat in Bradford, his neighbours were involved in the drugs scene, invited him to parties and introduced him to cannabis. The young men then accused him of stealing crack cocaine, became violent and told him he owed £1,000. His passport was taken.

Mr Dearing said Kozak was told he had to work for them to repay the debt, was subjected to violence and was so scared he fled to London to try to get a new passport. They found him after 11 days, he was badly beaten, brought back to this area and told his debt was 10 times greater than before.

The defendant was told he was to repay it by dealing for the men and was locked in a flat for a month, expected to sell drugs out of the window and then sent onto the streets. After he was arrested the first time, he was put back to work.

The solicitor added: “I think he has found his arrest and incarceration a great relief.” Probation officer Nick Powell, who interviewed the defendant, told the court: “I have never known anybody looking as happy and relaxed knowing they are going to custody.”