Cannabis dealer caught just after lockdown began is spared jail

PUBLISHED: 07:30 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:20 19 August 2020

Kyle Ruffles avoided prison at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Kyle Ruffles avoided prison at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

A Claydon man who was caught with 80 grams of cannabis just after strict lockdown measures were announced has avoided prison.

Police stopped Kyle Ruffles, 31, in Station Road, Claydon in the early hours of March 24 after noticing he smelled strongly of cannabis and was acting oddly, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Officers searched him and found 80.83g of cannabis, with a street value of £720, £405 in cash and a mobile phone, Karl Volz, prosecuting, told the court.

The mobile phone contained “a number of incriminating messages”, Mr Volz said.

The phone indicated the dealing had been going on for a number of months, from the middle of last year to the days before the arrest itself, Mr Volz added.

The government announced strict lockdown guidelines on March 23.

Ruffles, of Lincoln Gardens, Claydon, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class B drugs and possessing class B drugs with intent to supply on Tuesday.

Ruffles, who had no previous convictions, began using cannabis in 2017 after suffering from post traumatic stress disorder following an assault, the court heard.

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He was also experiencing pain with an ear condition and was spending around £30 to £40 on cannabis per week.

He said he was buying cannabis in bulk and providing it to a small number of associates to fund his own habit.

Joanne Eley, defending, said Ruffles turned to cannabis as way to cope with his conditions.

“He is expecting to have an ear operation but it has caused him a lot of pain and discomfort.

“He turned to smoking cannabis for the pain but is no longer reliant on cannabis.

“He has lived with PTSD for some time but it does not affect his ability to take up employment. He most recently worked in a furniture shop.”

Judge David Goodin sentenced Ruffles to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Ruffles was also made subject to a curfew from 8pm to 7am and must undertake 60 hours of unpaid work.

Sentencing Ruffles, Judge Goodin said: “This is your first offence.

“If there is another, you must understand what those consequences will be.”

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