A DRUG dealer has shocked a judge by admitting he failed to turn up for community service work because he was on a four-day bender.
Cannabis user Steven Vodden has barely completed half of the 100 hours unpaid work and says he missed one session because he was in the pub.
Vodden, 28, escaped jail and was ordered to do community service after he admitted cannabis dealing in April.
He was brought back to Exeter Crown Court after missing a string of appointments.
Asked about one of them he replied: “June 30 was my birthday. 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, of Barton Road, Tiverton, said he missed other sessions and probation meetings because he had a sore neck or was doing agency work in North Devon.
He said:”I was expected to take a day off work for a ten minute interview and the probation officer was not prepared to let me off, so I breached the order.
“I was doing agency work and it was all in North Devon and miles away from Exeter and Tiverton where I had my appointments.”
Recorder Mr Robin Belben adjourned sentence and asked the probation service to compile a detailed report of how often Vodden had failed to turn up and what excuses he provided.
He told Vodden:”You do not have a barrister or solicitor to represent you but you know your case is heading in a certain direction and you know what that is.”
Miss Eleanor Purkiss, prosecuting, said Vodden had completed just 54 of 100 hours and missed appointments with his supervising officer. She said the probation service are reviewing whether the order is viable.
Vodden was jailed for 24 weeks, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and receive two years supervision in April. He admitted possession with intent to supply.
In that case Recorder Mr Andrew Maitland expressed concern at Vodden’s attitude to the use of 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.”
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said 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.
Mr Bowen said:”His phone was seized and analysed and contained messages to and from his customers with question’s like ‘got the stink’ and ‘got some nice’.
Miss Bathsheba Cassel, defending, said:”Although he does maintain cannabis should be legalized, be appreciates the detrimental effect it has had on his own health and made changes to his lifestyle.
“He comes here not having used it for five days, the first time he has given up since he was 13, so he sees it as a massive achievement for him.”