Northern Ireland news

Man (37) who admitted importing 11,000 tablets freed on suspended jail term

William Hargrove (37) admitted importing thousands of Diazepam and Temazepam tablets

A man who admitted importing 11,000 Diazepam and Temazepam tablets has been freed on a suspended jail term.

Judge Geoffrey Miller told a "genuinely remorseful" William Hargrove (37) that he was taking the "exceptional course" in suspending his 18-month term for two years given the delay in dealing with his case.

He said Hargrove, from Wilgar Close in east Belfast, was also entitled to credit for his guilty pleas to the drug importations and the attempted possession of over 4,000 more Diazepam tablets with intent to supply.

Prosecution lawyer Robin Steer told Belfast Crown Court that in February 2014, officers from the UK Border Force examined a parcel addressed to Hargrove coming from Singapore.

The contents were labelled 'Ginko Stack supplement" but contained 6,000 tablets in blister packs of 10.

Mr Steer said a second package, this time with a different address for Hargrove, uncovered a further 5,000 tablets.

Four month later in June 2014, police in Belfast intercepted another package destined for a third address with more than 4,000 Diazepam tablets.

Police later searched the addresses and Hargrove's own home where they seized phones indicating his dealing under the pseudonym 'Jennifer Reacher'.

Mr Steer said the operation was relatively unsophisticated where the chances of detection were high.

The lawyer also accepted there had been a delay in the case, resulting mainly from the examination of the various mobile phones and in prosecuting the case.

Defence barrister Kieran Harvey said Hargrove had got himself into debt and this was offered the drugs operation as a way of getting himself out of it.

He said he had been making some positive changes in his life, as reflected in the pre-sentence report, although he still had some issues with cannabis.

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