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Man charged over £45k north Belfast cannabis seizure has £300 a week drug habit, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 15/09/2016

The arrests comes after a cannabis haul during searches of a house in the area.
The arrests comes after a cannabis haul during searches of a house in the area.

A man charged in connection with the seizure of £45,000 worth of cannabis resin in north Belfast has a £300 a week drug habit, a court heard today.

Police also claimed Colin Pilson, 48, was under the influence of cocaine when he surrendered himself to officers.

The father-of-two, from Forthriver Link in the city, was remanded in custody after being refused bail on a charge of possessing Class B drugs with intent to supply.

His arrest followed the recovery of the cannabis haul during searches of a house in the area on Tuesday.

Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court, Pilson spoke only to confirm he understood the allegations against him.

Opposing bail, a detective claimed Pilson had taken drugs when he handed himself in hours after the seizure was made.

"He stated that he has a £300 a week cocaine habit which resulted in a drug debt," she told the court.

Pilson allegedly now owes significantly more money to an organised crime gang due to the seizure and may commit further offences, a judge was told.

Raising further concerns about possible flight, the detective added: "We would fear he may come to so harm due to the loss of such a large amount."

Defence solicitor Keith Gamble argued that Pilson was unlikely to go on he run, having willingly gone to a police station in the city.

"He walked up to the sangar and volunteered himself," the lawyer stressed.

Mr Gamble also questioned the cannabis consignment's estimated street value, explaining that it was put at £18,000 during police interviews.

But the detective replied that a drugs expert has since re-evaluated the haul to be worth £45,000.

Denying bail, District Judge Eamonn King cited the risk of further offences.

He remanded Pilsom in custody to appear again by video-link on October 13.

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