A soldier caught dealing high purity cocaine worth up to £47,000 has avoided a jail term because of the stress he suffered during combat operations in Afghanistan.
George Hunt was serving as a gunner in the First Royal Horse Artillery when he began dealing the class A drug.
Just a week after he was discharged from the Army in October last year for failing a drugs test.
Police, acting on a tip-off, stopped him at a set of traffic lights in Dundee’s Duncan Place. They searched his car and found a 125 gram bag of 75 per cent purity cocaine – far stronger than the 10 per cent commonly found on the streets. Officers also found two kilos of a bulking agent to cut the drug into smaller deals, meaning he could have turned the substances into up to £46,850 worth of drugs.
Sheriff Alastair Brown had earlier warned Hunt he faced a three-year jail sentence, but instead imposed unpaid work because Hunt’s judgement was affected by his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Sheriff Brown added: “The provision for servicemen who suffer some mental health difficulties as a result of their service is not adequate.”
Hunt, 23, of Helmsdale Avenue, Dundee, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of drugs in September and October last year.
Solicitor advocate Kris Gilmartin, defending, said: “His period in Afghanistan had a significant impact on him.
“Immediately on return he began binge drinking and abusing cocaine and that became an addiction.
“He did seek help but the addiction had a fairly strong hold of him.
“He failed a drugs test and was discharged from the army and was unemployed, unemployable and had no money whatsoever.
“The person who sold him drugs identified that he was vulnerable and could be used in the supply chain.”
Sheriff Brown imposed a community payback order with 300 hours unpaid work and one year’s supervision.
He said: “You were dealing in class A drugs. That almost always signifies a prison sentence.”
But he said a psychologist’s report suggested he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
He added: “That is not the only factor in bringing you to where you are but it is very significant.
“The provision for servicemen who suffer some mental health difficulties as a result of their service is not adequate.
“No doubt the MOD have a different perspective but a gap has been identified by Combat Stress and others.
“Having been in the Army and served in a war zone is not a factor that results in people not suffering for their crimes.”