A MAN has been given a suspended jail sentence after police saw him throwing away a bag containing cannabis when they approached him in a York car park.

Leeds Crown Court heard how two officers were checking for a stolen vehicle in the Tesco car park at Askham Bar in an unrelated inquiry in January last year when their attention was drawn to a Vauxhall Astra.

They decided to speak to the occupants and as they approached saw Lee Bhavra get out from the front passenger seat and throw a white carrier bag over the wall where it landed in the branches of a tree.

As they got nearer the vehicle there was a strong smell of cannabis and when Bhavra was detained a cigarette dropped from his hand and he admitted it was “a spliff”. He also had £110 in his pocket.

Paul Abrahams prosecuting told the court the car driver Peter O’Connor was also detained although nothing was found on him but when his then home in Burton Stone Lane was searched two bags of “green herbal matter” was found in a white box in a bedroom.

Small plastic clip bags, a set of scales and a grinder was also seized.

When the carrier bag was recovered from the tree it was found to contain 78.9 grammes of skunk type cannabis with a street value of around £790 while the drugs at O’Connor’s address weighed 298 grammes with the correspondingly higher value.

Alexander Menary told the court for Bhanvra that at the time he was addicted to cannabis but had taken steps to address that problem since.

He had previously run a business on the internet which had unfortunately gone into administration after the financial crash of 2009 but was hopeful of starting again if given a chance to change his life.

Michael Smith representing O’Connor said he and his partner and four children had since left York to get away from the drug culture there. He had moved to Hull and “hopes if you give him this one chance he can put all this behind him and lead a more industrious life.”

Bhanvra, 32 of Earl Street, The Groves, York was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 200 hours unpaid work after he admitted possessing the cannabis in the bag with intent to supply.

O’Connor, 27 of Jesmond Gardens Hull, was also given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with supervision, a drug rehabilitation order for six months and 200 hours unpaid work after he admitted the same offence for cannabis at his then address.

Recorder Mark Gargan told them it was a serious offence but having heard more about their circumstances and the fact they had kept out of trouble since he could suspend the term.