Northern Ireland

Drug dealer 'was caught napping'

A drug dealer who fell asleep on the job has been given a chance to turn his life around, or go to jail.

Police found Ryan Finlay Robert King, 26, in a drugged sleep in his car while he was supposed to have been on duty as a car park attendant, a court heard.

King, from Meadowland, in Downpatrick, County Down, pleaded guilty to having and possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

He was given two years probation after agreeing to 80 hours community service.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC, told King that the easiest thing to do would be to jail him, but he had decided to give him one last chance to change or inevitably end up in prison.

Prosecution lawyer John O'Neill told the court that police were alerted by irate motorists who couldn't get their cars out of McCausland's lock-up car park on Belfast's Grosvenor Road on 14 November, 2010.

Weapon

Searching the car park they found King asleep in his Vauxhall Astra in the staff car park. When they tapped on the window to rouse him, a dazed and confused King was seen trying to conceal a bag in the footwell of the car.

Mr O'Neill said that on searching the car police found nearly 50 grammes of cannabis in a number of plastic bags, along with some LSD in his wallet, and a quanity of pentalone, similar to Ecstasy, uncovered during an intimate search of King.

King, who also admitted having these drugs, along with a pepper spray found in a door side panel, could not be interviewed until the following day given his drugged condition.

However, when questioned King told detectives some of the cannabis was his own, to see him through the week, while the rest he was holding for others, and that he did not know the pepper spray was a prohibited weapon.

Defence lawyer Mark Farrell said what police stumbled upon was no major sting or drugs bust. King, he said, was no Mr Big, but someone down at the bottom of the scale where dealing was involved.

Mr Farrell said King was a young man who was supplying drugs to a small circle of friends. His job, he said, was to buy the drugs wholesale to make it cheaper for everyone, but that he was now having to pay the price after being caught.

He added, that King, having taken some drugs on the job and falling asleep in his car, was then sacked,on the the spot. However, Mr Farrell said King was not considered a danger to the public, nor had he a record for being highly involved in the drug trade.