A drug dealer from Leighton Buzzard has been jailed for five years after being caught carrying a taser.
Lee Sopp, 21, was arrested at Oakfield Gardens on April 1 by police executing a warrant after he failed to appear at Luton Magistrates Court on a separate matter.
Officers found Sopp asleep on the sofa and quickly apprehended him.
Prosecuter Gavin West said: “He was searched and beside him was found a Gucci handbag.”
Inside the Gucci handag was £160 and 19 deal bags – later confirmed to be 7.53g of cocaine.
Mr West went on: “During the course of the search, a torch was found with a taser attachment. Therefore, a disguised firearm.”
Defending Sopp at Luton Crown Court today, Rupert Wheeler said: “In order to explain, he was recently out of custody, found himself in debt to drug dealers and very foolishly went back and dealt drugs in order to pay that debt.
“He was carrying [the taser] in order to initially protect himself. Somewhat naively saying although this was not as dangerous as carrying a knife, he did not appreciate it attracted the minimum five years.”
Mr Wheeler added: “Despite his young age, he already appears to be almost entrenched in criminal behaviour. he has to some extent been left behind by the justice system. He is a man almost crying out for intervention by probation.”
The court heard Sopp has plans to leave Leighton Buzzard and start a new life elsewhere.
Sentencing Sopp to five years, judge Michael Kay QC said: “You have a very sorry history for a man who’s only just turned 21, you have clearly gone off the rails in a very serious way.
“I don’t accept the submission that the justice system has failed you. You have failed yourself, you make your decisions. If you genuinely have turned a corner, you will come out [of prison] with a resolve.”
Sopp was sentenced to five years for possession of a firearm, to serve alongside 3 years for possession of class A drugs with intent to supply. He will serve half of that sentence before being released on licence.
A forfeiture order was made on £160 and the taser, and a destruction order was made on the drugs.