£25k drugs haul lands dealer back behind barsBy Victoria Smith
April 20, 2012
A drug, alcohol and gambling addict who was jailed in 2007 for his part in a major drug dealing operation has been sent down again for dealing cocaine.
Paul Gatt, 36, of Long’s Way, Wokingham, was previously jailed for seven years for being a member of 10-strong million pound drug gang operating in Lower Earley and Reading.
But after being released having served half the sentence he was discovered with a kilo of cocaine and drug dealing paraphernalia in his flat while still on licence.
However, Gatt had his latest sentence reduced to five years from a possible eight after a judge at Reading Crown Court heard how he was making a genuine effort to beat his addictions.
Police discovered several bags of cocaine of varying degrees of purity, worth £25,000, following a search of Gatt’s council flat after he had been arrested on suspicion of stealing a bicycle on August 12, 2011.
They also found £100 worth of cannabis, scales, cling film, eight-and-a-half kilos of benzocaine, used as a bulking agent to mix with cocaine, and a hydraulic press to package cocaine into solid blocks,
Four text messages were also found on Gatt’s mobile phone which appeared to be from potential customers looking for street level deals.
Charles Ward-Jackson, prosecuting, told the court Gatt had been jailed for seven years in March 2007 after pleading guilty to five counts of supplying drugs.
Rossano Scanardella, defending, said Gatt had met up with his old acquaintances soon after leaving prison and turned to dealing again to settle a £10,000 gambling debt.
He said: “It was stupid and foolish but it came at a time when he and his girlfriend were temporarily separated and he was back to his old ways of drinking and taking drugs.”
However, Mr Scanardella said Gatt had made great strides attending courses for his addictions while on remand in HMP Bullingdon.
The director of the Oxford branch of Gamblers Anonymous told the judge he makes fortnightly visits to the prison and Gatt had not missed one meeting.
Mr Scanardella said: “It would appear that Mr Gatt has suddenly and finally realised it’s for him to do something about his addictions sooner rather than later.”
Recorder Sandeep Kainth said it was clear Gatt played a significant role in drug dealing while he was on licence but full credit was due for admitting his guilt early in the court proceedings.
He said: “It’s clear to me you trying to make a concerted effort to change your lifestyle and you have utilised your time in remand effectively and taken on board the advice that is available to you.”
Recorder Kainth jailed Gatt for five years for possession of cocaine with intent to supply and 32 months for possession of cannabis with intent to supply, to run concurrently.