Benefit loan to fund drug deals

PUBLISHED: 12:38 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:53 04 May 2010

A LITTLEPORT couple who used a crisis loan from the benefit system to set up a drug-dealing business were given a suspended prison sentence this week. Michael Nunn and Kirsty Hobbs bought £250 worth of cannabis resin, and wrapped it up in separate packag

A LITTLEPORT couple who used a crisis loan from the benefit system to set up a drug-dealing business were given a suspended prison sentence this week.

Michael Nunn and Kirsty Hobbs bought £250 worth of cannabis resin, and wrapped it up in separate packages ready for sale.

The drugs were found when police went to their home looking for budgerigars stolen from The Grange Nursing Home in Littleport - and found three of the missing birds in the property.

Nunn raised his arm when police sergeant Tim Underhill tried to stop him throwing something out of the window, and hit the officer in the mouth.

Twenty-four-year-old Nunn, and Hobbs, 23, both of Limes Close, the parents of two young children, had admitted possessing cannabis on March 20 with intent to supply. Nunn also admitted assaulting the officer, and Hobbs admitted handling the budgerigars.

Nunn's brother had given Hobbs the birds, and although she read about their theft in the local press, but kept them because her children liked them, prosecutor Emma Dmitriev told Ely magistrates on Thursday.

When the cannabis was found in a beer glass, Nunn told officers he took out a loan, and bought the drugs to sell on, to supplement the family's income. His mobile telephone contained messages such as: "can your sort me out some drugs?"

Mitigating, Adam Hazelhurst said the couple used the crisis loan to buy cannabis for themselves, but on realising they had spent too much money, they decided to sell it. "It was an opportunistic decision to recoup some of their losses," he said. "None of the drug was sold."

Nunn had not meant to hurt the officer, and the budgerigars had been well cared for.

Nunn was given six months and Hobbs was given three months, both suspended for two years. Nunn will be supervised by the probation service and must pay £100 compensation to the police officer. Hobbs will carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay £50 costs.

"The fact that two children were involved, and no doubt were in the property when transactions were taking place is unacceptable," said presiding magistrate Hamish Ross.

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