Police found hidden drugs stash in Darlington man's home

The Northern Echo: Teesside Crown Court Teesside Crown Court

POLICE found hidden stashes of drugs when they went to a man's home to question him about something completely different.

Officers executed a warrant at Nathan Prendergast's flat in Darlington, and were overcome by the strong smell of cannabis.

Teesside Crown Court heard today (Wednesday, December 18) that Prendergast told them: "You're going to find a load of twenty bags - they're all mine."

Detectives did discover a batch of packaged cannabis worth more than £200 as well as 67 Ecstasy tablets valued at in excess of £500.

When he was interviewed, 20-year-old Prendergast said he bought the drugs and his plan was to share them with his friends.

He told police he had recently gone through "a bad time", two of his friends had died, and the Ecstasy made him feel "numb".

He admitted to taking between 20 and 30 pills a week, and said his grandfather was ill and his girlfriend was pregnant.

Ben Pegman, mitigating, told the court that Prendergast had sought help for his drug problems after his arrest in early July.

He had enrolled with the North East Council on Addictions, and stopped taking Ecstasy, but still smoked cannabis until recently.

Mr Pegman told the court that Prendergast's partner had given birth to their first child two weeks ago, and his priorities had changed.

"He would accept that the Ecstasy problem, if there ever was really a problem, was addressed," said Mr Pegman.

"Cannabis has always been a difficulty for him, but the problem with Ecstasy has coincided with the death of two friends.

"The cannabis, he would accept, still continued to be used until recently . . . but for the last two weeks, he has not touched it.

"He says he feels no ill-effects, and he is motivated to keep on a similar path. His circumstances have markedly changed."

Prendergast, of Westgarth Terrace, Darlington, admitted possessing Class A and Class B drugs with intent to supply on July 3.

He was given a 21-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, with 12 months of probation supervision.

Judge Tony Briggs told him: "Since your arrest, it appears you have taken a very much more positive attitude to your problems."

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