Police ‘instigated deal’ which saw youth worker jailed

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A YOUTH worker who was jailed for dealing drugs as part of a massive police operation has been released from prison after judges said he only committed the crime following “something akin to an invitation” from a police officer.

Marcus Morris Grant, aged 26, of Brimmesfield Close, Sheffield, was jailed for six months at Sheffield Crown Court in April after he admitted supplying cannabis.

But three senior judges at London’s Court of Appeal quashed his sentence and replaced it with a conditional discharge, after ruling Grant’s was an “unusual case”.

Mr Justice Maddison told the court Grant was one of 27 people arrested and charged following a series of drugs stings carried out by police around Sheffield last year as part of Operation Mach.

He said some of the undercover officers would sell cheap designer clothes and sportswear to suspected dealers, before asking them to pay with illegal drugs.

During the operation, a ‘test purchasing’ police officer phoned Grant and asked him to pay for some cut-price clothes with £20 worth of cannabis.

Grant brought the officer the drugs - which were later found to be worth only £9 - and was arrested after the handover, the court heard.

Lawyers for Grant said the jail term he received was over the top considering the police instigated the deal.

They said Grant had lost his job as a youth worker because of the conviction.

Allowing Grant’s appeal, Mr Justice Maddison, sitting with Lord Justice Rix and Mr Justice Stadlen, said: “This was the supply of a minute amount of cannabis, following something akin to an invitation on the part of the police officer.

“In our view this, along with the many unusual features of this case, meant it did not cross the custody threshold and the highly experienced judge fell into error in this particular instance.”