St Neots carer jailed after dealing drugs to pay off debts

Scales of Justice.

Scales of Justice. - Credit: Archant

A CARER has been jailed after he took on a job as a low-level drug dealer to pay off his debts.

Dennis Bettle, of Bluebell Walk, Eynesbury, was caught by police in Cambridgeshire with 37 individual £10 cannabis wraps on the front seat of his Vauxhall Astra on January 11 this year.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that the 21-year-old “owed some money to some people who he will not name because of the possible consequences for his family”.

Emilie Pottle, in mitigation, added: “They traced him again and said the way he could satisfy that debt was to sell cannabis at a street level.”

He therefore sold the drugs as way of paying back his debt and was found to have text messages on his mobile phone arranging times and places to meet customers.

Recorder Jonathan Cooper said it was “plainly a serious offence”, particularly as the crime was committed while Bettle was serving a suspended sentence for a burglary in Stevenage in July 2011.

He sentenced the defendant to 22 weeks in prison – 14 weeks for the charge of supplying cannabis, which he pleaded guilty to and a further eight weeks for the reactivated burglary sentence.

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Realising custody was the likely outcome, Miss Pottle said: “He is very anxious about that, not only for himself but his young family.”

His partner is registered disabled after suffering a back injury in a road traffic accident, the court heard. Bettle is listed as her carer and also plays a key role in looking after the couple’s 18-month-old daughter, as her partner’s injury means she cannot pick the little girl up.

Miss Pottle said Bettle accepted selling drugs to pay off his debt was the “wrong decision”, especially as the couple’s council house tenancy is now at risk as a result of his offending.

However, she said her client was “engaged by pressure and intimidation” to sell the drugs.

“He became involved as a result of coercion,” she said.

“He was provided with the drugs by the people who he owed money to. He would hand over the proceeds to those who he owed.”