Paignton man jailed for cocaine stash in his grandparents' bungalow

-Credit: (Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)
-Credit: (Image: Devon & Cornwall Police)

A drug-dealing Paignton man has been jailed - after his grandparents found cocaine worth £22,000 in his room. The couple called police and reported Jamie Stevens because it was "the right thing to do", a court heard.

They had noticed "radical change" in his behaviour in the lead-up to the find. Stevens was buying expensive items - despite not having a job - eating out a lot and letting his appearance deteriorate.

When they asked him about it he became angry. The final straw came when his grandmother found a large amount of white powder in a safe.

They said: "We decided it was the right thing to do, however upsetting, because we love Jamie as a grandson." Stevens, 26, has been jailed for three years.

He read a letter to the sentencing judge at Exeter Crown Court saying how sorry he was and he now knows that drugs ruin lives.

Tom Faulkner, prosecuting, said Stevens was living with his grandparents in their bungalow in a quiet cul-de-sac. The change to his manner and appearance started to escalate and they spoke to him about it.

⚠️ Want the latest Devon breaking news and top stories first? Click here to join our WhatsApp group. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice ⚠️

In the early hours of May 25 his grandfather saw him sat in his car "doing something with a balloon". After a brief confrontation Stevens left and did not reply to messages.

He returned in the early hours and went to sleep in his room. His grandmother, concerned about his welfare, removed a safe from the room while he slept and looked inside.

"There were bags of white powder," said the prosecutor. "She sniffed it and it smelled odd." The next morning Stevens was angry about about the intrusion and denied it was drugs.

"He has a supportive family," said Mr Faulkner. "They were more concerned than anything and wanted to support him." Police searched the address and found 10 wraps weighing an ounce each.

Paul Dentith, defending, said Stevens had let his drug habit get out of control. He had lost his job and was told he had to pay back debt by selling. His lived with grandparents because his mother was an abusive alcoholic.

He said Stevens spent three years in the army and the offending was isolated to a period of a few months. The defendant read a letter saying he started using drugs to numb problems in his life and before he knew it lost control of his habit.

He said he was not a career criminal or a violent person and wants to show he is a decent human being who can contribute to the community. "I will never step a foot out of line again."

Stevens admitted one charge of possession with intent to supply and one of possessing a small amount of cannabis. The judge said 90 per cent of the cases he dealt with at court have some drug connection, whether supply, violence or theft and it has a corrosive effect on society.