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Homeless man with Tourettes dealt cannabis as he had no job or benefits

PUBLISHED: 18:36 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 18:36 07 August 2019

Wayne Tappin and Matthew Smith were handed suspended sentences at Norwich Crown Court for burglary and theft, respectively. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Wayne Tappin and Matthew Smith were handed suspended sentences at Norwich Crown Court for burglary and theft, respectively. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A homeless Great Yarmouth man who dealt cannabis as he could not get a job was told by a judge that it was time he started to assume some responsibility.

Michael Smith, 29, of no fixed address, was found by police to have cannabis with a street value of £2,800 to £3,700, Norwich Crown Court heard on Wednesday (August 7).

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said that messages were also found on his mobile phone which showed he had been involved in supplying the drug to others, although he said there were not an extensive number of messages.

Smith admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possession of amphetamine for his own personal use.

Andrew Oliver, for Smith, said that he had a number of health difficulties including suffering from Tourette Syndrome. He also had no ID papers or passport so had been unable to get a job or access benefits and had no qualifications.

Mr Oliver said Smith was homeless and at one point even slept on the beach, as he had no where to go.

"He feels he has been pushed to pillar to post, with no one really helping him."

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Mr Oliver added: "He accepts he has been supplying cannabis so he can eat and fund his own habit."

He said that Smith had now borrowed some cash and applied for a passport.

"He is hoping his passport will lead to a more positive outlook for him. He knows the custody threshold has been crossed.

Jailing him for nine months, Judge Katharine Moore accepted he had difficulties but said that if he was capable of running a drug enterprise then he was also capable of assuming some responsibilty and putting his life in better order.

Also in court was his co-defendant Diane McBride, 34, of Ordnance Road, who also admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

The court heard she had acted as a "secretary" taking some of the phone calls before handing them onto Smith.

John Morgans, defending, said McBride was of good character and had learned her lesson: "She did not realise how serious it was. She is under no illusions now."

McBride was given a two year community order and three month curfew and pay £452 costs.

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