Cocaine dealer had drugs in his pocket as he fled police

COCAINE: Stephen Rice, 24, was jailed for dealing in Class A drugs
COCAINE: Stephen Rice, 24, was jailed for dealing in Class A drugs
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A drug dealer who panicked and ran away when he saw police officers in Preston was caught with 10 wraps of cocaine in his pocket when the officers caught up with him.

Stephen Rice, 24, was in Crown Street, Preston, when he saw the officers speaking to a man he knew.

The man called him over but when the officers starting asking Rice questions he fled, knowing he was carrying class A drugs.

When he was eventually caught he admitted he had been supplying the cocaine to friends for “a week or so”.

Mr Francis McEntee, prosecuting, told the court had it not been for Rice’s actions and admissions the officers would have been unaware he was dealing drugs.

Ms Sharon Watson, defending, said Rice, of Craggs Row, Preston, was not a drug user but was a heavy drinker and had seen dealing as an opportunity to raise funds for alcohol. The drugs he sold were to friends who already used them and the 10 wraps of cocaine he was carrying were for a party at the weekend, the court heard.

Judge Stuart Baker, sentencing, said: “It is always a very sad day when a young man who I’m told comes from a good family background and did pretty well at school, obtaining a number of GCSEs, and who went on to a course at college and has worked, and is a father of a child, with no previous convictions at all, finds himself in the dock of a crown court on serious charges.”

“If the court was to look at it from your perspective that this was for a brief period and was out of character, the court may be persuaded to take a lenient course. However I have to look at this in a wider context.

“You are 24, you have been to school, you have been to college and have been working. I can’t for any moment have any doubt you will be any less aware as most members of the public are aware that class A drugs, whether that is cocaine or heroin, are addictive drugs. They are harmful drugs.”

He added the fact Rice was selling to friends was not mitigatation as he could not know what the drugs had been cut with or whether the people he supplied them to would go on to supply them to others.

Judge Baker added: “You weren’t yourself a user of drugs or at least not class A.

“You were doing this as a purely financially motivated crime to fund your own addiction to alcohol.”

He jailed Rice for 24 months and ordered the drugs and £200 cash to be forfeited.