Robber sent back to jail for drug dealing

The Justice Centre in Leamington
The Justice Centre in Leamington

A man who was on licence from a life sentence for robbing an amusement arcade boss at knifepoint is back behind bars after turning his hand to drug-dealing.

Desmond Bernard, 42, of Millers Dale Close, Rugby, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply them.

He was jailed for three years – but whether he will be freed after serving that will depend on the prison authorities, who have recalled him for breaching his licence.

Prosecutor Ben Close said that at 9am on August 7 last year the police had reason to go to Bernard’s girlfriend’s address in Redhill Road, Rugby.

On the drive was a Vauxhall Astra which had been hired by Bernard, and in it officers found three £10 wraps of heroin and two of crack cocaine, as well as £20 in cash and two phones.

Bernard, who claimed the five wraps were for personal use, was arrested.

His flat in Wykeham House, Millers Dale Close, was then searched, and officers found packages of heroin worth a total of £630 which were ready to be broken down into individual deals.

They also discovered substances commonly used a cutting agents which are mixed with heroin to bulk up street deals, plus two further £10 wraps of crack cocaine.

“It was clear the kitchen was being used to mix drugs for sale,” commented Mr Close, who pointed out that the phones had text messages on them which related to the supply of drugs.

But despite what had been found at the flat, Bernard continued to maintain that, although he bought and used drugs, he never sold them.

Mr Close added that Bernard had a number of previous convictions for offences of dishonesty and violence, and in 2000 had been jailed for life, with a minimum term of five years, for robbery.

That had followed an incident when Bernard had assaulted, tied up and robbed the boss of an amusement arcade in Small Heath, Birmingham, at knifepoint before escaping in his victim’s car with more than £1,800 in cash.

Gerard Cullen, defending, said Bernard had originally been granted bail on the drugs charges, but was recalled to prison following his first appearance in court in November.

So the time he had spent in custody since then would not count towards his sentence for the drugs offences.

Bernard had actually served seven years before being released on licence, and no decision has been made on how long he will now be detained before he is next considered for release.

Mr Cullen added that, save for a driving matter in 2012, Bernard had not been in trouble for nine years following his release - until his arrest over the two drugs.

Jailing Bernard, Recorder Nigel Daly told him: “It seems you, when you were younger, were involved in some very serious crime which eventually meant you were sent to prison for life.

“You had been released on licence from that when you committed these offences. I understand you did this to get money when things were very difficult.”