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West Cumbria man given jail time for illegal supply of prescription-only drug

Carlisle Crown Court

A MAN has been given a prison sentence for the illegal supply of a prescription-only drug.

Paul Benson, 48, was caught out by police who stopped his car as he drove on the A66 near Penrith on February 9. He was “physically shaking and appeared pale”.

Inside his vehicle, officers found hundreds of pregabalin tablets – prescribed to those with epilepsy and anxiety – and hundreds of class C diazepam pills. Mobile phone texts revealed Benson’s illegal supply of pregabalin – which was re-classified as a controlled drug just weeks after he was apprehended.

Benson, previously of Barn Croft Avenue, Seaton, admitted possessing class C diazepam with intent to supply, and supplying prescription-only medication. Defence lawyer Mark Shepherd told how the defendant had been addicted to the drugs he ended up supplying, enabling him to make a “modest profit” used to fund his addiction.

Mr Shepherd added of Benson, now properly medicated in custody for long-standing mental health problems: “He certainly acknowledges he had no right to play pharmacist.”

Benson had a consecutive four-month jail sentence added to a year-long prison term he was handed earlier this year for other drug crimes. Recorder Paul Taylor observed the side-effects of pregabalin, if not prescribed properly, were “frankly terrifying”.

“They can cause all sorts of problems,” he told Benson. “The whole point about the black market scene of prescription-only drugs is that the people being provided with them can take any amount of them, in any circumstances, without any proper medical supervision.”

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