Darlington man who took up drug dealing in his 40s is jailed for three years

The Northern Echo: Paul Wilson Paul Wilson

A MAN described by a judge as a one-time professional burglar was back behind bars last night (Tuesday, December 10) for "an unusual departure" into drug-dealing in his 40s.

A court heard that a five-year gap in Paul Wilson's life of crime may have been caused when he was badly injured trying to steal from an electricity pylon.

Wilson was watched by undercover police as he came to and from a car parked outside of the Prince of Wales pub in West Auckland, County Durham.

The 47-year-old fled when officers approached, but they caught him and found three small plastic bags containing cocaine near to where he was detained.

During a search of the Volkswagen Passat, more than £750 worth of the same drug was found inside a sweet packet stuffed in the driver's side door pocket.

Wilson, of Lowmoor Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and was jailed for three years yesterday.

His barrister, Jonathan Walker, told Recorder Richard Woolfall, at Teesside Crown Court: "The defendant came today armed with clothing for his incarceration.

"The defendant is not someone who has committed a lengthy number of drug-related offending. This is, at the age of 47, an unusual departure for this man.

"There are countless of offences of dishonesty throughout the 80s and 90s, but it would appear he came to cocaine abuse in his mid-40s, and, unfortunately seems to have engaged with some enthusiasm around a year ago.

"I ask Your Honour to view this for what it is - that's a cocaine addict who has embarked on a small-time cottage industry to support his own use. It has never been something that can be said to be profoundly commercial."

Mr Recorder Woolfall told Wilson: "It seems you were a professional burglar for a long time, but there is a gap between 2001 and 2005.

"I note from your pre-sentence report that you were badly injured whilst attempting to steal something from a pylon, so maybe that had a dramatic effect on your life for some time.

"Anybody who deals in Class A drugs is really peddling in misery. There is a whole industry of crime surrounding drug use."

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