[A] South Shields man travelled to Cumbria to sell “laughing gas” to festival goers at the Kendal Calling music festival held near Penrith in July.
Phillip Alexander Drew, 33, of St Vincent Street, South Shields, Tyne and Wear, appeared at Carlisle Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to possession of a psychoactive substance Nitrous Oxide and that he supplied it to persons attending the festival on July 29.
John Moran prosecuting informed District Judge Gerald Chalk that Drew was seen at the festival selling “balloons filled with the gas”.
He had sold around 15-ballons costing £3 each, when his tent was searched a large number of balloons were found plus a gas cylinder with an attachment to fill the balloons, this was a well organised operation the judge was told and could make over £700 if all the balloons were sold.
Drew represented himself in court and told the judge he was going through a bad time and thought this would make him some money, he was severely depressed at the time, the judge asked him if he knew this was illegal and Drew said no, not until the police officer informed him the law had changed in May and it was now an illegal substance.
The judge told Drew that he accepted he did not know this was illegal, but that makes no difference, it is illegal, you sold the balloons to festival goers and to people that may have been vulnerable.
A Community Order was imposed of one-year during that time he has to undertake 60-hours of unpaid work, and pay £170 in court costs, the illegal substance was ordered to be forfeited.