Sheffield drug dealer caught with cannabis worth thousands of pounds avoids jail

A drug dealer who was caught with thousands of pounds worth of cannabis has narrowly avoided jail.

By Jon Cooper
Monday, 17th January 2022, 6:35 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard on January 14 how Akram Qasem, aged 27, of Buckenham Street, near Burngreave, was caught by police after officers found large quantities of cannabis in a Renault Megane car which the defendant had hired.

Helen Chapman, prosecuting, said police officers saw a group of young men stood around cars on the corner of Buckenham Drive and Buckenham Street and after they dispersed officers searched a Renault Megane and found packages of cannabis valued between £2,100 and £3,270 inside the vehicle with a set of digital scales.

Ms Chapman added: “Within that car were large quantities of cannabis retrieved from both the glove box and boot and police also found digital scales.”

Sheffield Crown Court has heard how a Sheffield drug-dealer who was caught with thousands of pounds worth of cannabis has been spared from prison.

She said that a mobile phone was also recovered which contained messages consistent with the street supply of cannabis along with photos of someone holding large amounts of money.

Following Qasem’s release during an ongoing investigation, he was later found by police as a passenger inside a vehicle where police recovered a bag and a rucksack containing packages of cannabis valued between £6,220 and £9,565 along with £760 in cash.

Judge Rachael Harrison told Qasem: “You were selling to users. On the second occasion it was clear that being arrested had no effect and indeed you became aggressive with the police.

“You had some awareness of the scale of the operation you were involving yourself in even though what you were doing was funding your own habit and drug debt.”

Qasem, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis between May 2 and 9, 2020, possessing cannabis with intent to supply from May 9, 2020, and to possessing cannabis with intent to supply from July 21, 2020.

Jessica Strange, defending, said Qasem had given up university to help his family and when he was working part-time at a garage he developed a drug dependency and committed these offences to address a drug debt.

Ms Strange added Qasem made a “grave mistake” and he wants to put it behind him and he has since involved himself in volunteer work, has been helping refugees and he has helped with the Covid vaccine passport service.

She said: “It is quite clear he really does understand the impact his offending has had on the community and the effect drugs have on the community.”

Ms Strange told Judge Harrison: “He has not committed any further offences since July, 2020, and that is 18 months now and that is something that means, Your Honour can rely on the fact he won’t get in trouble again and he is genuinely sorry.”

Judge Rachael Harrison sentenced Qasem to an 18-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement but warned him he will go to prison if he fails to comply or commits further offences.

She told Qasem: “Let me make this abundantly clear, if you come back, bring a bag because you will go to prison because I keep my promises so you best keep yours.”

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