A DRUG dealer has been jailed after he went on a birthday bender instead of doing community service work.
Steven Vodden refused to change his pro-cannabis attitudes and was jailed after probation officers decided there was no point working with him any more.
Vodden was given a final chance to avoid jail in April when he admitted cannabis dealing and escaped with a suspended sentence and 100 hours unpaid community work.
He was finally jailed at Exeter Crown Court after missing a string of appointments and admitted he had gone partying instead of completing his community order.
When he was last at court he shocked the judge by explaining one missed session by telling him: "It was four days after my birthday weekend. I told them I was not coming because I would be going to the pub. They said it was okay.”
Vodden, 28, of Barton Road, Tiverton, admitted breaching his community order and supervision and was jailed by Judge Phillip Wassall.
He activated 18 weeks of the original 24 week sentence and told him:”You have done less than half of the hours of unpaid work and not engaged with supervision at all.
“The reason for that is your attitude. You believe cannabis use should not be a criminal offence. Your attitude is demonstrated by your comment that your probation officer had a closed mind.
“You have wholly failed to address anything substantial in this order but I do recognise you have at least done 46 and a half of the 100 hours”
Miss Beth Heaton, prosecuting, said Vodden failed to attend seven appointments for unpaid work or supervision in June and July.
She said:”The view of the probation service is that this order is not workable and the custodial element of the sentence should be activated.”
Mr Brian Fitzherbert, defending, said Vodden missed some of the appointments because he had got a job doing agency work in North Devon and started to sort his life out for the first time.
He said Vodden’s views on the legalisation of cannabis had not changed but he acknowledges he was wrong to sell the drug to others.
He blamed some of the absences on the £7.50 cost of getting from Tiverton to Exeter for meetings with probation.
Vodden originally escaped jail in April after he admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
In that case Recorder Mr Andrew Maitland expressed concern at his attitude to drugs.
He told him:”You have a very entrenched attitude to cannabis. You seem to think the world would be a better place if we all grew it on our back gardens.”
Vodden was the front seat passenger in a car stopped by police in Tiverton and he admitted that he was carrying 13 ounces of cannabis.
A search of his home revealed another smaller amount and he admitted he planned to sell the drugs in 280 deals of £12.50, according roughly with the police estimate of a street value of around £3,000.