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Man in court after notching up ‘third brush with the law for drugs’

The deputy district judge said he wished to 'establish how much of a grip it has on him'

A Portadown man who has landed in court for his “third brush with the law for drugs” must wait until the New Year to be sentenced.

The deputy district judge said he wished to “establish how much of a grip” the substance had on the 21-year-old.

Shaun Watkins, of Aghory Road, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on September 29, at 7.35pm, police on patrol in Portadown observed a Volkswagen Passat on the Markethill Road.

As officers approached they detected a strong smell of cannabis coming from the vehicle.

Upon being informed that a search would be conducted, the defendant, who was the front seat passenger, handed over two bags of herbal cannabis and a grinder.

This in total was 8.5-grams of the substance which had an estimated street value of £85.

During a notebook interview, Watkins acknowledged that this was herbal cannabis and stated it was for personal use.

Defence solicitor Conor Downey said: “He does have a previous caution and conviction for drugs. It is in your worship’s hands whether you require a report.”

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “This is his third brush with the law for drugs. This will help to establish how much of a grip it has on him.”

The case was adjourned until January 17 for sentencing.

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