When a grandfather from Mansfield was arrested for invading the pitch at a Nottingham Forest football match, police discovered that he was a drug dealer.
Now 59-year-old John Poznanski, a retired miner, has been sent to prison for three years for what a judge described as “a really serious” offence.
Nottingham Crown Court was told that Poznanski, of Ferndale, went to watch Forest’s big match against arch rivals Derby County at the City Ground on Friday, November 6 last year, which was shown live on Sky Sports TV.
However, he was also a regular cocaine-user and while at the match, he picked up from his supplier more than 14 grams of the drug in 16 re-sealable bags bearing a Union Jack motif.
Almas Ben-Aribia, prosecuting, explained that season-ticket holder Poznanski was one of several supporters who went on to the pitch at the end of the game, which Forest won 1-0.
“He was restrained by two stewards, who took the view that he was drunk,” said Miss Ben-Aribia. “He had a bottle of lager in his hand and was unsteady on his feet.
“He was arrested and as he was waiting to be transported to a police station, he asked if he could go to the toilet. While there, he tried to discard two mobile phones and bags containing a white substance.”
Officers recovered the bags and found that they contained 14.1 grams of cocaine with a street value of between £480 and £800, the court heard.
When one of his phones was analysed, messages were unlocked, indicating potential drug-deals for “financial advantage” that had been arranged in the two weeks leading up to the match.
At an earlier hearing, Poznanski was given a conditional discharge for three years after admitting going on to the playing area at the City Ground and being drunk at a designated sporting event.
However, he was spared a football banning order after the court was told how he had been a loyal Forest fan for 43 years, had never been in any football-related trouble before and went to the Derby match as “a family day out” with his two sons who had been Forest mascots in their younger days.
At this hearing, he pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug. His barrister, Phillip Plant, mitigating, presented to the judge, Recorder Simon Ward, “powerful references” that supported Poznanski. They included one from his partner and one from a local business.
“He recognises that he fell into a bad habit, but has now stopped using cocaine and wants to put his behaviour behind him,” said Mr Plant.
“He only sold a relatively small amount of cocaine to friends and known associates, rather than on a significant commercial level.
“He did it to fund his own habit, but admits he did wrong and now feels remorse. There is a job offer available to him to stop him living off his miner’s pension.”
The judge told Poznanski he accepted that “there are a lot of people who think highly of you”. But he added: “This is really serious. I know you feel very sorry for what you have done, but you haven’t addressed the fact that you were going to supply cocaine to people.
“That means you are a drug dealer and, therefore, you have to go to prison. If not, it would send out completely the wrong message.”