The sale and consumption of illegal drugs is “rife and at a very high level” in Coleraine, District Judge Liam McNally told the town’s Magistrates Court last Monday.
He was speaking as he jailed Ben McDonald (23), of Liffock Park, Castlerock, for four months, whom he described as a “substantial dealer in this town”.
McDonald was caught with drugs worth £1,500 and police also seized a notebook containing names of people and amounts of money beside their names.
McDonald was in court for sentencing on several charges involving possession of drugs with intent to supply and possession.
A prosecutor said at 10.30pm on March 13 last year police saw a male at the door of a property in Coleraine and as they approached he shouted: “Police, police”.
Police found he had 20 grammes of herbal cannabis on him along with 84 pills, a grinder, a small amount of cannabis resin and £300 in cash.
The prosecutor said police suspected he was a dealer and when a car was searched 130 grammes of cannabis and other tablets were seized along with a notebook with entries which they believed related to the supply of drugs.
Defence barrister Aaron Thompson conceded it was the “most blatant case of intent to supply” and said police had found a “tick list” in the car.
He said a police search had just occurred at the property when an unmarked police car saw McDonald, “like a fool”, walking to the door and saying “stupid things about drugs”.
He said it was the “easiest arrest in the world” for police.
He alleged that if McDonald was a “guileful drug dealer high up in the chain” he would have known better to have done what he did.
He said McDonald’s own drug misuse had “turned him into a drug dealer”.
McDonald was released on his own bail of £500 pending appeal.