Drug-dealing landlord is jailed for selling cannabis from his Chesterfield pub
A drug-dealing landlord who sold cannabis from a well-known Chesterfield pub has been put behind bars for 12 months.
Michael Bennett, who ran the Miners Arms, along High Street, New Whittington, appeared at Derby Crown Court on Monday, January 11, and admitted supplying cannabis to acquaintances and others from his pub as well as his home.
Prosecuting barrister Abi Joyce told the court: “Police were called to an unrelated incident at Bennett’s home and he took the officers to a cupboard so he could get medication and they saw 2.9grammes of cannabis which appeared to have been part of a larger amount.
“Two further large scale bags containing cannabis were found with 5.1grammes and 8.5grammes as remnants from larger amounts and a phone was seized.
“A further search found 1.2grammes of cannabis in a jar, scales and bags and the Miners Arms was later searched and police found two bags containing 27.4grammes and 26.9grammes of the drug each valued at £200 each.”
The court heard how Bennett also had about 3,000 messages on the seized mobile phone with texts using drugs terminology like “a Henry” for an eighth of an ounce of cannabis.
Miss Joyce added: “There were multiple texts of people sending different requests for an eighth of cannabis and of the defendant agreeing to supply an eighth and that would be supplied at the pub or his house.”
Two others were also involved in the chain of supply, according to Miss Joyce, arranging for cannabis to be collected from the pub when Bennett was not there.
The court heard how Bennett was once annoyed when someone came to the pub to buy cannabis but left without paying for a drink and in another instance he paid a member of staff with cannabis instead of cash.
Bennett, of Pynot Road, Old Whittington, Chesterfield, initially told police the cannabis was for his own personal use and he denied supplying and being in possession of the class B drug with intent to supply.
However, Bennett later pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis between November, 2014, and August, 2015, and to possessing cannabis with intent to supply in August.
Miss Joyce added: “He was supplying from the pub while he was the landlord. He’s not someone who was buying in bulk from a dealer and just selling to friends.
“He’s been getting cannabis from the producer and selling it from a pub where he was the landlord.”
Kevin Tomlinson, defending, said drug exchanges at the pub did not take place in the public area and Bennett even took objection to one gentleman not buying a drink when he was buying cannabis.
Mr Tomlinson added that former foundry and engineering worker Bennett had originally self-medicated with cannabis due to a degenerative back problem.
The 50-year-old had intended to buy the Miners Arms with inheritance money following his father’s death, according to Mr Tomlinson, and his cannabis use turned into dealing.
Mr Tomlinson said: “He says he would purchase a quantity of cannabis for £280 and would use some and others would pay to get what they wanted and he was not making any significant funds.
“As soon as the licensing committee found out the licensing authority took away the licence and the pub has not traded since August 1 and it is an empty building which Mr Bennett still has to pay for.
“The Miners Arms is closed and people have lost their jobs and he is trying to get someone to buy the pub and it is standing empty.”
Bennett, who is married and has a son aged in his 20s and another aged 12, was dealt with in court as a person of previous good character.
Judge Jonathan Bennett told the defendant: “While most of your supplying would be for friends and acquaintances that was not entirely the extent of your circle and some of this business was done at the pub.”
He sentenced Michael Bennett to 12 months in prison.