A TRANS-PENNINE cannabis courier benefited from involvement in the drug trade by an estimated £57,344.

But as David Lintern is said to have no available assets, a nominal £1 confiscation order was made, following proceeds of crime inquiries.

Lintern received a two-year prison sentence at Durham Crown Court earlier this year after admitting possessing cannabis with intent to supply, plus three counts of simple possession of other drugs found by police at his home in Consett.

It followed his arrest returning from Merseyside with a consignment of almost 11 kilograms of cannabis on February 28, 2018.

The court heard he was enlisted to make the journey to collect 11packages of cannabis from the Liverpool area.

He placed them in the back of the specially-hired van, but on the latter stages of the return journey to Consett police pulled him over on the A68 near Crook, at 8.45pm.

Apart from the cannabis packages, officers seized Lintern’s mobile phone revealing the two-way flow of messages on the outward journey as he neared his destination.

When police searched Lintern’s home address, it also led to the recovery of smaller amounts of ecstasy, amphetamines and diazepam.

Lintern claimed it was a “one-off” run to Merseyside, which the prosecution said implied “significant trust” being placed in him, to be given charge of such a valuable consignment.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds told the court: “He was a courier, motivated by financial gain, as he was obviously not going to do it for nothing.”

The 39-year-old defendant, of John Street, Blackhill, Consett, was said to have suffered with mental health issues from his long-term use of drugs, which, in-turn, he used to “self-medicate.”

His counsel, Jennifer Coxon, told the court: “He got involved with, ‘the wrong crowd’, and accumulated debts with drug dealers.

“One way to pay that off was to do the one-off trip. Payment wasn’t cash in hand, it was getting rid of his debt.”

She added that as the drugs Lintern collected were seized by police it left Lintern with a new debt of £40,000 to the dealers involved.

Recorder Paul Greaney QC, who passed sentence in March, said it was clear to see why the dealers saw Lintern as, “a good candidate” to transport the drugs.

He ordered forfeiture and destruction of the seized drugs and set in train proceeds of crime proceedings.

More than five months since the sentencing hearing Judge James Adkin confirmed the benefit figure from Lintern’s drug offending as £57,344, but due to his lack of assets the nominal £1 amount for confiscation was ordered.

Judge Adkin added: “If other assets are identified this is the basis on which we can seek to confiscate them.”