During a June 28, 2022 hearing, Sheffield Crown Court was told how the officer approached a grey Renault Megane parked on Pontefract Road, Barnsley on March 19, 2020, containing defendant, Mark Skelly, and two other males.
Prosecuting barrister, Adam Keenaghan, said the officer approached the car because it was obstructing a shop on the road, and when the officer reached the passenger door, Skelly looked at the officer directly, ‘before bending down into the footwell’.
"He opened the passenger side door, and described the defendant as looking panicked. He was clenching both of his fists,” Mr Keenaghan said, adding that the officer believed Skelly was clenching his fists because he was trying to conceal something within them, and not out of anger.
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The officer subsequently searched the vehicle and found a yellow plastic egg, the kind found within Kinder Eggs, noted Mr Keenaghan; adding that Skelly, of Gold Street, Barnsley told the officer it contained drugs.
Mr Keenaghan said a quantity of drug wraps were found inside the egg, including four containing crack cocaine and four containing heroin.
An additional 24 wraps of crack cocaine were found within the vehicle, along with a small Adidas bag containing approximately £300 in cash and a Nokia mobile phone, on which police found text messages they regarded as evidence of drug dealing, the court heard.
Mr Keenaghan said it was the Crown’s case that while they did not believe Skelly had a leading role within the drug dealing chain, he must have had ‘some awareness of the scale of the operation given the text messages’.
"The defendant was arrested and interviewed on March 19, 2020. He was cautioned and made no comment of all questions asked of him,” Mr Keenaghan added.
Skelly, who has 21 offences from 11 convictions, pleaded guilty to two charges of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Defending, Sean Fritchley, said Skelly had been plagued by an addiction to crack cocaine, and that during the first Covid-19 lockdown Skelly ‘rid himself of the crack cocaine addiction and straightened himself out’.
"He simply tells me he is not the person he was, and addressed the issues he had at that time,” Mr Fritchley said.
He told the court how in the 27 months since Skelly’s offending took place he has found employment, and his own accommodation.
Mr Fritchley added that the best point of mitigation that could be made in Skelly’s favour is the two years it has taken for his case to get to court, and the fact he has had the threat of prison hanging over his head for that time. He asked Judge Graham Robinson to consider keeping Skelly out of prison.
However, this argument was rejected by Judge Robinson because Skelly initially attempted to put forward a basis of plea that the drugs did not belong to him, but this was rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service.
“You ask me not to send a drug dealer to prison after he lied to the court and tried to delay the inevitable,” Judge Robinson said.
Judge Robinson jailed Skelly for 30 months.