Resident's suspicions were correct after two men were spotted sitting in a car in a Leamington street with the engine running for over an hour at 3.40am

Police found the two men asleep - as well as 23 bags of cannabis

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 6:06 pm

A concerned resident in a Leamington street contacted the police after seeing two men sitting in a car with the engine running for over an hour.

And Warwick Crown Court heard that when officers went to Westlea Road, Leamington, to check on the two men, who were both asleep, they searched the car and found 23 bags of cannabis.

Driver Jamie Rowley pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply it, and passenger Stoneia Sutton denied that but admitted possessing some cannabis for personal use.

Jamie Rowley.

Rowley (20) of Foden Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work.

Sutton (21) of Bristol Road South, Birmingham, was given a 12-month conditional discharge by Judge Peter Cooke, who told him: “Your first, and I truly hope last, brush with the law.”

Prosecutor Nick Berry said that at 3.40 in the morning on 29 March 2018, a Westlea Road resident reported that two men had been in a car outside with the engine running for over an hour.

When officers attended to check on the two men, they found them both asleep, still with the engine running, and noticed a strong smell of cannabis.

Rowley, who admitted he had no insurance, was in the driver’s seat, and in the driver’s door pocket were 12 small bags of cannabis worth £10 each.

In the passenger footwell there were a further 11 bags, and at Sutton’s home the police later found a £10 bag of the drug.

Their phones were seized, and on Rowley’s phone was a message he had sent to seven people announcing: “Just picked up some fine hay. Shout me.”

Rowley said the car belonged to a friend who he would not name – but in fact it was on false number plates, having been stolen in Emscote Road, Warwick, earlier in the month.

Mr Berry added that Sutton had no previous convictions, but in October 2018 Rowley had been given a suspended sentence for offering to supply a class B drug.

Satnam Singh, for Rowley, said: “The defendant has done everything to change his life around.

“In 2018 he was having problems at home, was unemployed with no prospect of work, he had an addiction to cannabis and little or no support from his family, and he had accrued a small amount of debt to his suppliers.

“But this offence is three years old, he is in a better relationship with his mother, and he is living in independent supported accommodation.”

Mr Singh said that although a report said Rowley had not complied fully with the previous suspended sentence, he had not faced breach proceeding over it.

But after Judge Cooke asked for enquiries to be made, he remarked: “There is an extant warrant for this man in respect of a probation breach which has never been dealt with, so your perception that he’s never been breached is wrong.”

He adjourned the case for two days for further enquiries to be made, and remanded Rowley in custody.

At the resumed hearing Mr Singh said that at first Rowley had complied with the order, but at the beginning of 2019, having to fend for himself, ‘he simply couldn’t cope.’

He was being chased for drug debts and relying on friends to put him up, and failed to contact the probation service to tell them how to get in touch with him.

Mr Singh added that Rowley had found his two days in jail ‘a horrific experience,’ and asked for him to be given ‘one last chance,’ adding that there was a real prospect of rehabilitation.

The judge said: “I think there’s a good deal of force in what has been submitted; three years of water under the bridge, and he has now had, albeit a brief one, a taste of custody.

Judge Cooke told Rowley: “There is some good news coming Jamie Rowley, you will be going home. The suspended sentence, I activate, but only to the tune of a day, and you’ve served that.”

But imposing the new suspended sentence, he warned: “If you screw up, you and I will meet again.”

And Rowley vowed: “I’m not gonna.”