Ipswich ‘Legal high’ shop owner jailed again for dealing cannabis after police raided his store and flat

Rodney Debenham

Rodney Debenham - Credit: Archant

A drug dealer who allegedly used his Ipswich shop selling legal highs as a cover for cannabis dealing has been jailed for 12 months.

However, despite more than a kilo of the Class B drug being found his flat above New Dawn in Eagle Street Rodney Debenham denied he had ever sold cannabis from the store.

The 46-year-old – who is understood to have appeared in the BBC3 documentary series How Safe Are My Drugs – admitted two counts of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Ipswich Crown Court her a total of 1.25 kilos of the drug were found in the bedroom and kitchen of his flat when police raided the premises on April 15 last year. This was despite Debenham still being on a suspended prison term he was given for the same offence in 2012.

On September 24, nine days after the drug dealer was rebailed for the first offence, police found a further 1.1 kilos of cannabis worth around £14,000 in an outbuilding at the premises in Eagle Street, the court heard.

Debenham had previously been convicted in June 2012 when he was caught growing cannabis at his house in Whatfield Road, Stowmarket, which he intended to make into marijuana-flavoured butter and fudge. He received a 12-months prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

Recorder David Pugh said Debenham had seven previous convictions for 13 offences including two drugs matters.

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Despite his arrest on April 15 last year the court heard he continued to play a significant, but not leading role in the cannabis operation he began with three friends.

Jude Durr, representing Debenham, now of Rectory Road, Brome, near Eye, said: “He and a small group of friends pooled their resources to buy cannabis. The defendant was tasked with converting this into resin.”

Earlier prosecutor Godfried Duah said police and trading standards officers raided New Dawn on April 15 last year. The shop sold ‘researched chemicals’ and drug paraphernalia.

A number of legal highs were found which were being looked at by Suffolk Trading Standards Department.

When officers went into the flat above they found a number of clear bags of cannabis in the kitchen and bedroom.