A middle-aged man who was caught selling drugs near a Leamington skateboard park used by youngsters has been jailed.
Alexander Finch appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to possessing the class A drugs heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply them.
Finch (45) of Dale Court, Dale Street, Leamington, was jailed for three years and eight months.
Prosecutor Cathlyn Orchard said that at just after 11am on September 9 last year the police were informed that someone was dealing drugs in Riverside Walk in Leamington.
Judge Anthony Potter observed: “That area had been newly refurbished by the council for people to jog, exercise and walk their dogs.
“It’s sandwiched between a residential area, Warwickshire College and a public park regularly used by children, and at a time when it was one of the few things we could do during lockdown.”
Miss Orchard said that when officers arrived at Riverside Walk, which runs under Adelaide Road and through Victoria Park past its skateboard park, they saw Finch.
“He was detained and asked if he had any drugs on him, and he said he did.”
He handed over a tin in which officers found 11 wraps of crack cocaine and seven wraps of heroin, and admitted having more drugs at his nearby flat.
When that was searched, under his pillow in the bedroom they found a further 46 wraps of crack and 32 of heroin.
Altogether the 96 wraps of drugs recovered were worth £960 – but when he was interviewed Finch admitted he was doing ‘a bit of dealing,’ and was offering three wraps for £25.
Miss Orchard added that Finch had previous convictions for theft and for a non-domestic burglary, but had not been in trouble for almost 20 years.
Simon Hunka, defending, said: “There are relatively few submissions to make, but what stands out are two things.
“The first is how forthcoming he was, offering no excuse and being fully frank, and the other is that he’s a man with little by way of previous convictions.
“He is someone who has got himself involved in a world which is very alien to him, but someone who has himself had a habit. That’s why he found himself engaging in this type of behaviour.”
Jailing Finch, Judge Potter told him: “The area where you were found in possession of some 18 wraps is an area which is close to the town centre, it’s close to Warwickshire College and Victoria Park, which is one of the main amenities of Leamington.
“Where you were was just across from a skateboard park and other amenities.
“The Riverside Walk has been the subject of renovation, ensuring that that path, which had been shady and muddy, had had a new pathway put in by the council.
“It might be said to be an area surrounded by young people, and yet you, in an act of astounding arrogance, were dealing not just one, but two class A drugs.
“It is important that those who arrogantly deal drugs in town centres will receive deterrent sentences.”