Man who tried to send cannabis in the post fined by magistrates

PUBLISHED: 16:26 09 April 2013 | UPDATED: 16:26 09 April 2013

James Higgins outside court

James Higgins outside court

Archant

A WELWYN Garden City drug supplier was rumbled when he tried to send cannabis to a friend by Royal Mail, a court has heard.

When police descended on James Higgins’ house to investigate, they found a large stash of the drug.

The 54-year-old was arrested after he tried to mail 6.3g of cannabis resin and a small amount of herbal cannabis to an M Thomas in Wales.

Staff at the post office, in Moors Walk raised the alarm when they saw and smelled the drug in the package, which was not properly sealed.

Higgins was spared jail on Thursday at St Albans Magistrates’ Court.

Paula Appiah, prosecuting, told the court: “Police were informed by the post office in Moors Walk, WGC, that a package had been posted that contained drugs namely cannabis and herbal cannabis.”

Police tracked down Higgins at his Jackdaws home six days later, and were greeted by the stench of the Class B drug.

Ms Appiah said: “The defendant opened the door, there was a strong smell of cannabis noticed by the officer and a search uncovered a large amount of cannabis resin, that is 380g found in the front room, and packages addressed to M Thomas.”

He was arrested and admitted to officers at Hatfield Police Station that he had sent cannabis to “a friend and this was a gift”.

South Wales Police questioned Mr Thomas, who revealed he had not paid for the drug and he used it to ease anxiety and asthma problems.

More than £1,300 was also discovered at Higgins’ home, officers also estimated the cannabis had a street value of more than £1,000.

The defence claimed Higgins had withdrawn the cash over a period of time, despite receiving only £100 a week in benefits.

His solicitor Kate Barbour said he had started using the drug after he had a foot amputated in 1997 and used the narcotic to numb the pain.

She told the court: “[Higgins] had his right foot amputated in 1997 and that still causes him a significant amount of pain; he has since then been prescribed painkillers.

“He has become immune to them, certainly they have become less effective, he turned to the cannabis as pain relief.”

She said he had stopped using the drug – which he crumbled into food – since his arrest.

Ms Barbour also told the court Higgins was a paranoid schizophrenic who saw a psychiatrist once every six months

Higgins has been signed off work since 1997 but he has now been found fit to return to work.

Higgins pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and possession with intent to supply.

Sentencing Magistrate Paul Skerton said: “We are going to keep this in the fine bracket, we don’t think community service is going to help you. Working in the community is out.”

For both offences he was given a total fine of £350, he must also pay costs of £85 and fork out for a victim surcharge of £20.

Hearing the total cost Higgins, speaking for the only time in the hearing, said: “I haven’t got any money at the moment, I don’t receive any payment for the next two weeks.”

Neighbourhood Sergeant Malcolm Dey oversaw the investigation and he has asked for anyone with information on drug dealing to tell the police.

He said: “The police will always pursue vigorously any reports of drug dealing, we take a zero tolerance approach on drug dealing and will investigate.

“I urge any residents to report any suspicous behaviour to police or Crimestoppers.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times