A JUDGE has ordered almost £15,000 to be confiscated from a man caught selling heroin and crack cocaine at a drugs den in a Bidford house.
Tristan Welsh, 32, of The Poplars in Bidford, had originally denied possessing heroin and crack with intent to supply them, but he changed his pleas to guilty after new evidence dramatically emerged during his trial at Warwick Crown Court last year.
Welsh was jailed for four years, with a consecutive nine-month sentence for an offence of dangerous driving committed while he was on bail for the drugs matters, but a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation into his finances, including any bank accounts and other assets he had.
At the resumed hearing Judge Alan Parker was told that Welsh’s benefit from his illegal activity had been assessed as £14,960 and that he had an ‘available amount’ to cover that, so the judge ordered the full amount to be confiscated from Welsh, giving a formal 56 days for it to be paid, in default of which Welsh will have to serve a further nine months.
During his trial prosecutor Andrew Wilkins had said that in September 2011 the police raided ‘what was in effect a drugs den’ at a house in Smiths Close, Bidford.
They found Welsh in the process of supplying drugs to another person and seized 26.7 grams of crack and 18.7 grams of heroin, worth a total of more than £2,000.
When Welsh, who admitted possessing 52 tablets of the heroin substitute Methadone for his own use, first appeared in court in 2012 he denied being a crack and heroin dealer.
Lloyd Jenkins, defending, said Welsh’s case was that he had gone to the address ‘where drugs are sold’ to buy some for himself and had fallen asleep, but on the day Welsh and a co-defendant went on trial, the other man’s barrister insisted on details of phone messages being obtained.
When that was done and they were examined, they proved that man had not been involved in drug-dealing, but that Welsh had – at which point he changed his pleas to guilty.
The court also heard that in June last year the police chased the car Welsh was driving, believing him to be intoxicated. He sped off at up to 80mph in a 40 zone, through Redditch before turning into a cul-de-sac when he stopped, got out and ran off.
Welsh was found hiding behind a fence and arrested, added Mr Wilkins.
Before Welsh was jailed, Mr Jenkins commented: “He was drug dealing to support his own addiction. He is a victim of drugs just as much as the people he was supplying to.”
Jailing Welsh, Judge Parker had told him: “You know as well as I do that what you were doing brings misery to so many people, because it has brought misery to you.”