A CANNABIS dealer who was caught with more than £5,000 cash at his home in Newton Abbot has been spared an immediate jail sentence because it has taken almost three years to get him to court.

Michael De Escofet was just six months into a previous suspended sentence for the same offence when police raided his home in August 2021 and found tubs of cannabis, cash, and a Rolex watch. 

The case got parked in a queue before being sent by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service with the result that he only appeared at Crown Court last month.

The delay was so long that he had finished the two-year-old suspended sentence imposed in February 2021 by the time he came to be sentenced for the new offences.

In the meantime, he had done well on probation supervision, stayed out of further trouble, and come off benefits, securing a job as a window cleaner. 

De Escofet, 22, of Bradley Lane, Newton Abbot, admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply and was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years by Recorder Mr Malcolm Galloway at Exeter Crown Court.

He ordered him to do 150 hours unpaid community work, 25 days of rehabilitation activities and pay £250 costs and a £25 fine for breaching the previous suspended sentence. 

He told him: ‘If this case had come before me within 12 months, as it should have done, you would be going to prison. 

‘This offence was six months into a suspended sentence. I have to take into account the delay, your age at the time, and the satisfactory completion of the suspended sentence.’ 

Miss Beth Rickerby, prosecuting, said police raided De Escofet’s home on August 29, 2021 and seized 43 grams of cannabis in two Tupperware pots, £5,120 cash and two Rolex watches, of which one was genuine. 

Mr Chris Cuddihee, defending, said De Escofet was dealing mainly to friends and some people they referred to him, and was doing so to pay for his own cannabis habit. He was also selling clothes and shoes.

He said the Rolex watches were returned to him by police after being seized in an earlier raid and he believed this had happened because both were fakes. He was surprised to find one was genuine.