A DRIVER was caught with more than £10,000 worth of cannabis soaked paper when police stopped his car near Newton Abbot.

Brett Barton had 420 sheets of the paper which were infused with a synthetic type of cannabis and which may have been destined to be smuggled into prisons.

The paper was rolled into sausage-shaped wads and were found in a wooden box in the back of his car when it was stopped on the South bound carriageway of the A38 in July 2019.

Barton smelled of cannabis and was later prosecuted for drug driving at magistrates court while his rear seat passenger Scott Morris was found with 14.7 grams of cannabis which he planned to sell.

Barton, aged 26, of Haldon View, Chudleigh, admitted possession of a cannabinoid drug with intent to supply and was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £500 costs by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him that he was setting a bad example to his young daughter and risking his own mental health by using cannabis. He told him the penalty would have been more severe if the case had come to court more quickly but that he should expect to go to jail if he reoffends.

Morris, also aged 26, of Fore Street, Kingskerswell, admitted possession of a cannabis with intent to supply it when he appeared before Newton Abbot magistrates in April this year. He was jailed for six months, suspended for a year and ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said Barton was driving the car when it was stopped on the A 38 and police suspected he had been smoking cannabis.

Morris was found with 14.77 grams of cannabis with a potential street value of £1,450 and messages on his phone showed he had been dealing. Police also recovered a list of clients when they raided his home.

Mr Grumbar said: 'The case against Barton primarily concerns a wooden box found in the rear footwell of his car. There was some green herbal matter, I am not sure what that was, and two tightly wrapped packages.

'These contained 420 pages of paper which was impregnated with a cannabinoid substance and which a police drug expert valued at £25 each, making a total value of £10,500.

'The expert’s opinion is that the market for this sort of paper is almost exclusively in prisons, where it can be supplied through the post or on visits. There was no evidence of actual supply in this case but Barton’s fingerprint was found on the tape.'

Mr Grumbar said the case had taken a great deal of time to come to court because of other inquires including the downloading of phones, for which there is a long backlog.

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Barton was a much younger man when the offence was committed and has changed a great deal in the four years since his arrest.

He has a full time job as a digger driver and is a father who shares the responsibility for bringing up his young daughter.