Businessman kept drugs in shop, court hears

A BUSINESSMAN who kept cocaine in his Salisbury window furnishings shop has narrowly avoided going to prison for drug offences.

Craig Williams, 32, who runs Blind and Track Service (BATS) in Brown Street, admitted possession of cocaine with intent to supply and production of cannabis when he appeared at Salisbury Crown Court on Friday.

The court was told that on August 2 last year, a member of staff in his shop found a suspicious looking package on the premises and reported it to police.

Officers discovered a block of cocaine weighing 94.68g, which was worth about £1,690, scales and plastic bags.

They later searched Williams’ home in Greenfields, West Grimstead, where they found 13 cannabis plants in the garage.

Fern Russell, defending, said her client was a “fairly heavy” drug user, and kept cannabis in the shop so it was away from his home.

She told the court that Williams, who has a two-year-old son, accepts he was “behaving like a naughty teenager” and “identified his behaviour was selfish”.

She also said Williams hadn’t used drugs since his arrest.

“He comes today with his bags packed and knowing he might not leave through the door in which he came,” said Miss Russell.

Sentencing, Recorder Edward Burgess said: “When I came into court to deal with your case today I had firmly in mind to send you immediately into custody but in light of what I have read and the submissions, I am persuaded – just.

“You are clearly an intelligent man of some ability and it seems to me you have already begun to make significant changes in your life and your lifestyle. It was long overdue; you should start growing up.”

Williams admitted the charges and was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for 18 months with six months supervision.

He was also ordered to complete a drug rehabilitation requirement, 250 hours unpaid work and pay £100 victim surcharge.

“This will hang over you for 18 months and if you do anything else you will be brought back to court and you will do the two years,” said Recorder Burgess.

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