A Llanbadarn man has narrowly avoided going to prison for operating a ‘cannabis shop’ from his house.
Bradley Dylan Hugh Furness, 26, of Brynrheidol, Llanbadarn Fawr, appeared before Swansea Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to charges of possession of cannabis with intent to supply, attempting to supply cannabis, and an importation offence.
The offences came to light after a postal worker noticed a strange smell.
Furness posted a number of packages of cannabis to customers around the UK which were collected and driven from Aberystwyth to a regional sorting office in Chester – but when the postal worker got to the depot he reported a strange smell in the bag.
On inspection, 52 padded envelopes containing a total weight of 215g of cannabis were discovered as a result.
10 days later, a package from Canada was intercepted at the international mail hub in Coventry which was addressed to the same person who had sent the Aberystwyth parcels. The box was labelled as containing a speaker for an audio system but actually contained 4.5 kilograms of cannabis.
The court heard that following these finds police executed a search warrant at 26-year-old Furness’ house and found what was described as a “pot distribution centre” in a bedroom of the property with 18 Kilner-type jars containing different strains of cannabis. In total more than 5kg of cannabis was seized from the house.
Officers also found the defendant had been using the PayPal system to take payments from customers as well as accessing the dark web and being involved with online cryptocurrencies.
Over the following months and years Furness gave four “no comment” interviews to police before eventually admitting possession of cannabis with intent to supply, attempting to supply cannabis, and an importation offence.
Judge Huw Rees said it was clear the defendant had been running a “considerable operation” involving buying cannabis from Canada and packaging it into small quantities for onward supply in the UK – what the police had described as a “cannabis shop”.
The judge said ordinarily such activity would attract immediate custody but he was mindful of the delay in the case.
Although arrested in September 2017 it was not until February 2020 Furness was charged by postal requisition.
The court heard that in the meantime Furness has started an Open University course, which was a source of great pride to his family.
Giving the defendant credit for his guilty pleas Judge Rees sentenced Furness to a total of two years in prison, but suspended for 18 months.