A NEWBURY man is facing jail for operating a one-man ‘drug deals on wheels’ business from the back of his white Ford van.
Police had accidentally chanced across the mobile drugs factory from where Adrian John Tarft weighed, blended, cut up, packaged and delivered his wares direct to customers.
When they caught him, Tarft had, along with scales, deal bags, a list of debtors and bulking agents, with which to adulterate the drugs in order to increase his profits, Reading Crown Court heard.
Szylvia Booker, prosecuting, said plain clothes officers approached the 37-year-old father of five children from different relationships in Enborne Road, as he loaded his van on April 5.
Ironically, the jury was told, they only wanted to talk to him about an allegation of fly-tipping but, when they asked if he had anything in the van that he shouldn’t have, he blurted out that he had drugs.
Ms Booker said police then searched the van and discovered its damning contents, adding: “Taken together with the cash and the two mobile phones ... the prosecution say that it contained everything a person would need to cut up, weigh, package, deal and deliver drugs.
“This effectively made the vehicle a mobile drugs factory.”
She described Tarft as “a one-man, mobile drug delivery service [who] arranged sales using his two mobile telephones and who, no doubt, delivered straight to his customers as they placed the order.”
Those who could not pay immediately were put on a “tick list”, added Ms Booker.
Tarft, formerly of Wash Common but who had lately been ‘sofa surfing’ with friends or living out of his van, denied two charges of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, possessing criminal property and possessing bladed articles without lawful excuse.
The court heard he told detectives that the drugs were for his personal use, that the cash was from the sale of a vehicle and that the scales were for weighing jewellery.
He told police he worked as a tree surgeon and landscape gardener and that the van belonged to his occasional employer, John Bentham.
He refused to comment about the knives – a lock knife, a hunting knife and a large kitchen knife stained with blood – the jury was told.
However, having attended the beginning of the hearing, Tarft did not return for his own defence and the trial continued without him.
Steve Molloy, defending, reminded the jury that they had to be sure his client was guilty of each offence before convicting him.
It took jurors just one hour to unanimously convict him on each count on Wednesday, August 23.
It can now be revealed that Tarft has previous convictions for 30 offences, and has previously been jailed for dealing in Class A drugs.
Tarft was due to be sentenced at a later date.