A JUDGE has ruled that a man seen discarding a package containing scales and £2,500 worth of crack cocaine played “an active role” in supplying the drug.

William Anthony Greenwood was seen arriving at a house in West Rainton, near Durham, on an off-road motorbike by a police officer in a marked vehicle.

Durham Crown Court was told that when he noticed the police car he was seen to throw something into a neighbouring garden.

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He told the officer it was his phone, but on checking a set of scales was found in a plastic bag, and he claimed he was taking them to someone to weigh some gold.

But a further package was found containing a carton bearing 50.3g of cocaine, said to carry a street-sale value of £2,500.

He claimed he was unaware what was in the package, and told the officer he thought it was gold.

But, at a hearing at the court last month, 48-year-old Greenwood, of Wear Street, Chilton Moor, near Houghton-le-Spring, admitted a charge of possessing the class A drug with intent to supply.

His plea was made on the basis that he was pressured to deliver a consignment by men to whom his son had a large drug debt.

The prosecution did not accept that basis and so a trial of issue was staged at the court today (Thursday July 11).

In evidence Greenwood claimed the men turned up at his house and instructed him to deliver the package to a man wearing a blue coat and a hat, in Adventure Lane, West Rainton.

But Judge Christopher Prince rejected his account, and told the court: “When he was arrested he chose to make no comment in his police interview, allowing him time to fabricate a story.

“I infer from his silence he had no answer that would stand up to examination.

“I find he was in possession of those drugs to supply in an active role, and not under duress.

“I will sentence on the basis he was playing ‘a significant role’ in the supply of drugs at street level.”

He adjourned the case to allow for preparation of background Probation Service reports on Greenwood, who was remanded in custody to be brought back for sentence on August 8.