Dad turned to selling cannabis after losing his job

NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.

The prospect of losing his job tempted a 25-year-old Clipstone dad to start selling cannabis, a court heard.

Scott Hockings, of Church Road, was caught by police in Mansfield town centre during the Christmas holiday.

Now he has been handed a prison sentence of eight weeks, suspended for a year, by Nottingham Crown Court judge, Recorder Simon Ward.

The court was told that police officers were alerted to Hockings’s green Peugeot car on Scarcliffe Street at about 7 pm on Sunday, December 27 last year.

“As the driver got out, the officers could smell cannabis,” said Samuel Coe, prosecuting.

“When they went over to search it, the driver ran away towards Bolsover Street. But the officers then saw him return and start looking around, which made them suspicious.

“They soon found a bag of cannabis and a mobile phone that he had thrown over a fence on to a path.

“There were 24 grams of cannabis that he had paid £180 for. In interview, he said he smoked the drug himself, but also supplied some to friends at weekends.”

Hockings pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of a class B drug with intent to supply and of supplying a class B drug between October 31 and November 28 last year.

Hockings’s barrister, Almas Ben Aribia, mitigating, said it was “his own unsophisticated operation, sharing minimal quantities on a non-commercial basis”.

He had been in a job for six years, but had learned he was to be made redundant, which would have caused him financial problems.

“He was smoking cannabis himself and paying for it, so when the opportunity came up to sell it on an informal basis, he foolishly took it up,” said Miss Ben Aribia.

“When arrested, he held his hands up and even told police they would find text messages on his phone relating to various exchanges. It was a silly offence and he is very sorry about it.

“He has since gained fresh employment, and has a two-year-old daughter, who lives with his ex-partner.”

As well as the suspended jail-term, the judge ordered Hockings to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work in the community and to pay court costs of £425.