Armed drug dealer is put behind bars

A young Wigan man, who was caught minding a handgun for his drugs supplier, has been sentenced to five years' detention.

Wednesday, 7th December 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:37 pm
Liverpool Crown Court

Declan Pennington was arrested along with associate Jake Crook after police stopped a car they were in on August 20 and found drugs in their possession.

Pennington, 19, of Platt Lane, Scholes, had pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon: a Webley revolver. He also admitted possessing cocaine and heroin with intent to supply and possessing cannabis as did 18-year-old Crook, of Cornwall Drive, Hindley.

Prosecuting, Frank Dillon told Liverpool Crown Court that when police stopped the car, in which Pennington was the front seat passenger, they noticed a smell of cannabis and Pennington handed over a small bag of the drug. “Officers also noticed a number of snap bags in the driver’s seat door pocket and on the rear seat.”

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Both men were arrested at the scene in Red Rock Lane, Standish. Among items seized as a result of the arrest were bags containing cocaine and heroin, with a street value of £9,000, scales and further snap bags. At Pennington’s home a Russian-made gun, probably 19th century, was also found, said Mr Dillon.

When interviewed, they admitted being involved in weighing and bagging the heroin and cocaine for distribution. Pennington admitted cutting up heroin from a large bag with Crook bagging it up. He said he had been given the gun to mind three weeks earlier by a man for whom he was dealing the drugs.

“He said there was a degree of bullying in respect of being prevailed upon to store and bag drugs.”

Pennington was originally charged with possessing the weapon without a certificate, which carries a maximum of five years’ custody, but the judge ruled he should instead face a charge of possessing a prohibited firearm, which carries a mandatory five-year sentence.

Phil Astbury, defending, urged the judge to make all the sentences on Pennington concurrent which he agreed to do. He said he was a man of good character with a supportive family and in the third year of a four-year electrical engineering course and hopes he can complete it while in custody and come out to live a worthwhile life.

Judge David Aubrey said it was almost a mystery why he had become involved. “It must have been because you were mixing with the wrong crowd.” He said that although no ammuntion was found the gun was in working order and was “a lethal firearm.”

He sentenced Crook, who also has no previous convictions, to two years’ detention. The court heard he admitted that, like Pennington, he was being paid £50 an ounce for diluting and bagging up the Class A drugs.

Judge Aubrey said his parents must have been horrified to find him in this situation. “It is every parent’s nightmare to receive that knock at the door. No doubt he is a decent lad apart from this.”