South Shields army veteran caught sending £1,000 cannabis through post - after putting return address on parcel

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An army veteran who attempted to send £1,000 worth of cannabis through the post was caught when police spotted his return address on the package.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how dad-of-one Robert Tracey dropped two parcels off at the post office on Keppel Street, in South Shields, South Tyneside, in August 2016.

One of the parcels contained 196g of skunk cannabis to the street value of around £1,000, and was addressed to a man in Whitehaven, Cumbria.

The second parcel contained £1,000 in cash and was addressed to a man in Leeds.

Prosecutor William Byrne told the court how a postal worker became suspicious when one of the packages smelt of "weed".

Both parcels were analysed and, three days later, 53-year-old Tracey was arrested interviewed at South Shields police station.

Mr Byrne said: "There was a return name and address, a home address on the packages. The defendant was quickly identified.

"There was a cctv recording and this also showed that both parcels had been posted by the same person."

During an investigation, police also found that three of Tracey's bank accounts was being used for money laundering activities.

They discovered £25,000 worth of criminal money had passed the accounts over a three-year-period.

Tracey, who works as a doorman, initially denied charges of being concerned in the supply of cannabis, possessing criminal property, attempting to transfer criminal property and concealing criminal property.

He changed his pleas to guilty on the day of his trial.

Paul Reid, defending, told the court how his client had served 13 years in the armed forces before being "honourably discharged"

He said: "He pleaded guilty and his hugely apologetic. It is wholly unlikely that he will re-offend.

"He has been caught in a clumsy, low level drug enterprise. This defendant has not sought to reestablish himself in any drug deals.

"This man is not a recidivist drug dealer or a recidivist offender."

Recorder Abdul Iqbal QC sentenced Tracey, of Nevinson Avenue, South Shields, to 21 months in prison.

Recorder Iqbal QC told Tracey: "You showed a lack of remorse and little interest into the type of damage caused.

"You were involved in the money laundering of £25,000 over three years.

"I hope you feel suitably ashamed and embarrassed of this. I am not able to suspend this sentence."