A former drug dealer caught with almost £800 worth of crack cocaine and heroin, some of which was hidden in a Kinder Surprise box, has been spared an immediate prison sentence.
Martin Force, aged 23, handed over the drugs after being stopped by police in Rugeley, saying: “I’ve got stuff in my pocket, mate. I’ll get it out for you.” In his possession was a total of 12 wraps of heroin, worth £120, and 27 wraps of crack cocaine, worth £675.
Some of these were stashed in a canister used in Kinder eggs.
Force, who admits to being involved in drugs since the age of 13, has since moved away from the Cannock area to live with his mother in Wales to mend his ways.
Michelle Heeley, defending, told Stafford Crown Court yesterday: “After the arrest he moved away deliberately.
“The reason for this offence is because he was using heroin and crack cocaine – he has now weaned himself off drugs and he’s done that without the use of any services.
“Mr Force has been quite candid in saying he did the crime and he’s now ready to do the time.
“These aren’t just empty words – he’s moved away from people he knows and loves.”
Police officers approached Force at around 1.30pm on August 4 last year when he was sitting in a Ford car on Queensway in Rugeley.
He voluntarily left the car and handed over the drugs, which amounted to 8.96g of crack cocaine and 1.824g of heroin.
Force was also found with two mobile phones and £250 in cash, which he admitted was made partly from another drug deal.
Prosecuting, Mr Simon Rippon, told the court: “Force said he had drugs to sell and that he needed the money because he was homeless.
“He did not commit the offences under pressure from anyone else.”
He added that Force, who pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply, has previous convictions for theft-related offences and cultivating cannabis.
Recorder Martin Forde QC sentenced him to a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He must also be supervised by the probation service for 12 months and attend a building skills and recovery programme.
Recorder Forde told him: “You have had a lucky escape today.
“For the next two years you better had prove to yourself, your family and to the probation service that you are able to comply with this order.”
Outside the court, Force said he was delighted to have escaped an immediate prison sentence and said he owed his recovery to his family.
“The only reason I chose to turn my life around was because I have a family that loves and respects me,” said Force, who is now living in Arnold Gardens, Kimmel Bay, Rhyl.
“I’m so happy,” he added.