When the police searched a Rugby man’s home after a 17-kilo package of cannabis had been intercepted at the Royal Mail’s parcel hub, they found up to £500,000 worth of amphetamine.
Adrian Heywood pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing the amphetamine and 27 grams of cocaine with intent to supply them.
Heywood, 42, of James Court, Rugby, who also admitted evading the prohibition on the importation of cannabis, was jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Nicholas Berry said that in November 2013 a parcel from South Africa was checked by staff at the Royal Mail’s international parcel hub. It was found to contain 17 kilos of cannabis with an estimated street value of £85,000. It was to be delivered to the home of one of Heywood’s neighbours who he had asked to take delivery of it for him.
He and his neighbour, who was cleared of being involved after a jury accepted he did not know what was in the parcel when he agreed it could be delivered to his home, were arrested.
Heywood’s home was then searched, and officers found a package containing 5.57 kilos of amphetamine which could have had a value in street deals of anything between £240,000 and £580,000. There was also a second package containing 26.9 grams of cocaine of a very high purity of 85% with a street value of up to £8,900.
Heywood entered his pleas on the basis that he had simply been asked to provide an address for the cannabis to be delivered to, which was rejected by the prosecution.
And on the day the case was listed for a ‘trial of issue’ he accepted he had paid for the cannabis intending to sell it on.
His pleas in relation to the amphetamine and cocaine were entered on the basis that he had agreed to store those drugs in return for a large gambling debt being reduced was accepted.
Guy Williamson, defending, pointed out that Heywood had entered his pleas as long ago as May last year, but his case had been delayed pending the outcome of his neighbour’s trial.
He said that at the time Heywood was living with his partner and two children in a rented semi and he was working as a sales rep for a timeshare firm, taking home around £1,800 a month, including bonuses. But he had had a gambling addiction, and following his brother’s death he suffered from depression, and the only way he could find comfort was by gambling.
As a result he built up significant debts, and the people to whom he owed the money said they would reduce it if he agreed to hold the cocaine and amphetamine for them for a week or so.
He had also been approached by someone in relation to importing cannabis, for which he paid £8,000 and provided an address for it to be delivered to before it was to be sold on.
“He felt he was getting deeper and deeper into debt, and the only way he could dig himself out was to try to pay the debt off as quickly as possible,” said Mr Williamson.
Of the £3,580 in cash found at Heywood’s home, he said there was a confirmation from Coral’s bookmakers that on the day of his arrest Heywood had won £3,600 on a roulette gaming machine.
Jailing Heywood and ordering the cash to be forfeited, Judge Abbas Mithani QC told him: “The public are entitled to be protected from all those who supply drugs, no matter where they are in the chain.”