Man dealt drugs because he didn't want to 'dip into his savings'

A former street dealer returned to a life of crime because he didn't want to "dip into his savings".

Darren Weatherhill, 57, was spotted by police selling drugs on Hawkshead Street, Southport, at around 10.55am on May 3 2023. He tried to flee on his bicycle, but crashed as he attempted to mount a kerb and was detained by the officers, who found seven wraps of crack cocaine (worth £70) in his possession, and £303.21 cash.

A subsequent search of his house, on Saunders Street, found a further seven bags of crack cocaine worth about £150, a bag of heroin worth about £210, scales containing traces of both drugs. An examination of his mobile phone revealed texts messages from "three or four" different people asking about the sale of drugs.

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He appeared at Liverpool Crown Court today, July 5, where he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs - heroin and crack cocaine.

Prosecutor Derek Jones said: "The defendant pleads guilty on the basis he and his partner had relapsed on heroin and cocaine after a period of abstinence. He was involved in supplying directly to users to find his own habit and he was purchasing the drugs at a discount and selling them on for a modest profit in order to fund himself and his partner."

He added: "It's an unusual position. It seems him and his partner had access to several thousand pounds, and he started dealing to stop them dipping into their savings."

Rachel Oakdene, defending, said Weatherhill, who has 25 past convictions for 68 offences including drug dealing, had joined the Change Grow Live support service in Southport, and was no longer using drugs.

She said: "There is a letter from Change Grow Live which is a company the defendant has made remarkable progress with. It's suggested he is an inspiration to other users to that service. He's attended many, many sessions. There is also a letter from (a man) to whom the defendant is a registered carer. He has serious medical issues and relies on the defendant as a carer."

Judge David Potter said: "Your offending is made far more serious by the fact that you have a lengthy criminal career. More recently you were convicted of drug trafficking in class A and sentenced to 47 months in prison. It's therefore both exasperating and sad that you reverted back to selling class A drugs.

"On the other hand... since your arrest in 2023 you have done a remarkable job in transforming your own life. You're not considered to be a model participant in group work and support sessions for other addicts. You remain a carer for a person with disabilities and you have remained drug free since your arrest."

He sentenced Weatherhill to two years in prison, suspended for 18 months, along with 15 rehabilitation days and a nine month drugs rehabilitation programme.

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