Northumberland drug dealer caught after dropping £2,000 of cocaine at Newcastle fuel station

A careless cocaine dealer was caught after dropping £2,000 of drugs at a petrol station.

Ian Scott lost 45 wraps, weighing just under 47g, of the Class A drugs on the forecourt of the fuel station in Denton Burn, Newcastle, and it was found by an employee. When he returned looking for it around ten minutes later, the worker noted his registration and contacted police, who later pulled him over and found him with another 42 wraps of cocaine.

Now the 62-year-old, of Woodhorn Drive, Stakeford, Northumberland, who admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply, has been given a suspended prison sentence. A judge at Newcastle Crown Court said it was "surprising" and "disappointing" police had decided to return more than £900 seized from him rather than pursuing him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Matters came to light on February 4 2022 when police were called to a petrol station on Denton Road, Newcastle. A bag of wraps containing white powder had been found on the garage forecourt by an employee when she was clearing the floor around 9pm.

Around 10 minutes later, Scott attended the petrol station inquiring about the missing bag and was told no such item had been found. He attended again a second time around half an hour later and was seen searching the ground.

The employee noted his registration number and informed police of it and the discovery of drugs she had made and details of Scott's car were circulated. Around 2am the following morning, the car was spotted by police on the Scotswood Bridge and he was pulled over.

In his pocket was a bag containing 15 wraps of cocaine weighing around 1g and when the car was searched a further 27 wraps were discovered. Police also found £200 in cash and a phone.

When his home in Northumberland was searched, police found two mobile phones and a further £715 cash. The cocaine he dropped at the petrol station was split into 45 wraps and weighed just under 47g and was worth more than £2,000 and the total value of all the drugs seized was around £4,000.

On the phone, messages going back to the previous May were found showing he was involved in drug dealing. He said he had a £500-a-week cocaine habit and got into debt.

The court heard police have an "arbitrary rule of thumb" around Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings based on the amount of cash seized and decided not to pursue him and even returned the £915 of cash they seized to him. Recorder Richard Herrmann said: "That's surprising. Disappointing would be another word."

Scott pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and was sentenced to two years suspended for two years with a four-month curfew between 8pm and 6am and a mental health treatment requirement.

Recorder Herrmann told him: "You don't need me to explain to you the evils of the drugs trade. You know the drugs trade needs people like you to be out and about on the streets dealing to users. It can't succeed without people like you prepared to do that.

"You know from first hand experience the misery the drugs trade creates for users and wider society and law-abiding people."

Brian Mark, defending, said Scott had a history of working hard and has a mental disorder which was a factor in his offending. He added: "He accepts he behaved entirely wrongly.

"He, through me, apologises for his conduct. He understands it was serious and he understands his behaviour was anti-social and criminal. He is a highly intelligent individual when his mental state is stable and he is not on cocaine."