Man sells cops wraps of coke

PUBLISHED: 14:11 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 10:15 31 May 2010

A MAN caught supplying cocaine to an undercover police officer at Saffron Walden was told by a judge last Thursday that he had narrowly missed being given an immediate custodial sentence. Decorator David Van Weede, 25, of Walden Road, Little Chesterford,

A MAN caught supplying cocaine to an undercover police officer at Saffron Walden was told by a judge last Thursday that he had narrowly missed being given an immediate custodial sentence.

Decorator David Van Weede, 25, of Walden Road, Little Chesterford, admitted being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Judge Peter Fenn said cocaine was a substance which wrecked lives in terms of physical health and mental wellbeing. It often led to addiction which in turn led to the commission of crime to feed that addiction.

He told Van Weede: "You couldn't complain if you lost your liberty. It has been a very close call. You can count yourself very lucky indeed."

Van Weede was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

He was also placed under the supervision of a probation officer for 12 months and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work.

Judge Fenn also imposed a drug rehabilitation requirement for six months "to assist you in regard to the use of cocaine and cannabis".

Frank O'Toole, prosecuting, at Chelmsford Crown Court, said between October last year and February this year police carried out an undercover surveillance operation in the Saffron Walden area, which involved officers interacting with local drug users and suppliers.

It was codenamed Operation Springburn and resulted in the arrest of a number of people.

On December 8 last year two officers met a man at The Temeraire pub in Saffron Walden.

He asked them if they required any "gear" and they said they did.

The man made a phonecall and a few minutes later a car pulled up outside the pub driven by

Van Weede. One of the officers handed over money to the man and the defendant gave him two wraps of cocaine.

Andrew Hope, mitigating, said it was a one-off incident for which Van Weede made £20 for himself.

He was acting as a "middle man" for someone else.

"At the time Van Weede had financial problems and significant debts. He stupidly though this was a way of going about trying to pay some of it off," said Mr Hope.

References showed that Van Weede was normally "an honest, reliable and kind man" who had acted entirely out of character.

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