A MAN caught with £3,500 of crack cocaine stashed in his tracksuit bottoms after a police raid on his mother’s pub has been jailed for two years.
Joel James, aged 23, sneaked past police into the Arbourthorne Hotel to retrieve drugs he knew were hidden there after he was tipped off about the raid, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said police executed a warrant at the pub at 11am on September 23 2010 where James’s mother Yvonne Blake was licensee.
She said officers searched the pub and were satisfied she was there alone but when they gave her the opportunity to ring staff and tell them not to come into work she was heard on the phone to her son.
Miss Gallagher said a PC saw James, of Shirland Lane, Darnall, climb over a fence into the pub telling officers he’d come to see his mother.
He told another PC inside he had just woken up and had been asleep in the back room of the property all along.
She said: “When he was told he would be searched for drugs he became agitated.
“He told the officers they couldn’t search him because he was only 17 and then that they couldn’t search him because he was a Muslim.”
James eventually agreed to be searched if his mother was present.
Miss Gallagher said: “He was seen to pull down the back of his jogging bottoms and his mother reached towards him. She was pushed out of the way. At that point he ran towards the fire exit.”
A cling film wrap fell from his tracksuit bottoms. It contained 49 grammes of crack cocaine at 27 per cent purity with an estimated street value of £3,437.
James claimed the drugs had been left by someone whose name he refused to disclose and he had retrieved them to protect his mother.
The court heard James had served a two-year jail term after selling heroin and cocaine to undercover police outside a city centre pub in 2007.
Richard Barradell, defending James, who admitted possessing a class A drug with intent to supply, said he was caught with a relatively small amount and had not planned to sell them but hand them to their owner.
He said: “He wanted to protect his mother. He’s not a proper dealer.”
Mr Barradell said James had kicked his drug habit in jail and converted to Islam. If jailed, he would miss the birth of his first child in April.