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Ex-restaurant owner drug dealer was ‘relieved’ when he was caught

today22 September 2022 1

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A former restaurant owner, who cooked for a number of athletes including Kell Brook, has walked free after being caught with class A drugs. Ben Pryor of Sadler Close, Sheffield, was caught with drugs in his boxers on January 11 this year after police stopped his blue Mercedes in Chesterfield.

The dad-of-three, who pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to possession with the intent to supply cocaine and heroin, and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin, had got into debt in an attempt to fund his lifestyle after losing his job in September 2021. He appeared at Derby Crown Court on September 21, where it was heard that Pryor had been involved in the activities for three months.

The 35-year-old was found with 77 wraps of cocaine, 39 wraps of heroin, and a 1.9-gram resealable bag of cocaine – which prosecutor Steven Gosnell said would in total earn between £1,240 and £1,260 if it was sold. Pryor had once run three restaurants with a business partner, which served a number of athletes including footballers and former boxer Kell Brook.

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He had since worked in other roles, including as a sales representative for an energy company in Glasgow, but became unemployed in September 2021. In his defence, Zed Shah said Pryor had borrowed money to continue with his then-lifestyle, but it became apparent very quickly that he could not pay it back.

Mr Shah said how Pryor would receive £200 each week for his actions, which would go towards paying back the debt. Since his arrest, Pryor has suffered from stress, anxiety and depression.

In a statement from Pryor read out to the court by Mr Shah, Pryor said: “I am 35 years old, I should know better.” Mr Shah also told the court how Pryor had been “relieved” when he was caught by police, and described the former restaurant owner as being of previous good character.

Sentencing, Judge Shaun Smith KC said that he can “confidently accept” that Pryor was remorseful in this case, and took into account that Pryor had willingly told police that he had drugs on him when he was stopped, but added that Pryor’s mother must be “wondering what on Earth she is doing at her age sat in Crown Court.”

Pryor was handed a two-year suspended sentence, 260 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, as well as a mental health treatment requirement.

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