Northern Ireland news

Man accused of hiding cannabis inside martial arts training dummy must remain in custody

George Campbell (27), of Glendale Road in Derry, faces charges of possessing cannabis with intent to supply, having criminal property, and simple possession of cocaine

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A man accused of hiding part of a £20,000 cannabis haul inside a martial arts training dummy must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

George Campbell (27) was refused bail amid claims that he was storing the drugs at his Derry home for someone else.

Police also seized gold rings, receipts for more jewellery and £1,280 in cash during searches in April this year.

Campbell, of Glendale Road in the city, faces charges of possessing cannabis with intent to supply, having criminal property, and simple possession of cocaine.

Officers involved in the raid initially discovered small quantities of the drugs in his bedroom, the court heard.

Prosecution counsel said a further search of the attic uncovered nine bags of herbal cannabis.

She told the court police then became aware of a strong smell outside the house.

They located a training dummy used for martial arts and boxing, finding a bag full of drugs inside it.

The combined weight of the herbal cannabis in the attic and outside was said to be 1kg, with an estimated value of £20,000.

During interviews Campbell said the drugs inside the house were for his personal use.

But he claimed the bag outside was given to him "for safekeeping" by an unnamed man who was to retrieve it at a later date, according to the prosecution.

Mark Reel, defending, argued that Campbell should be released because he has now spent nearly six months in custody.

It was contended that further delays could result in the accused having served the sentence ultimately imposed for any conviction.

However, Mr Justice Colton denied the application based on "significant progress" towards fixing a date for preliminary enquiry.

He said: "I don't consider there's been a significant change in circumstances."

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