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Honest dealer who sold cocaine to pay off debts walks free from court

A ‘one-man band’ cocaine dealer who sold drugs to pay off his debts has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

Alex Mizouri was found with hundreds of pounds worth of the class A drug in his coat by police at a pub in Ilkeston.

The 34-year-old would claim to police he was thousands of pounds in debt and had turned to a life of crime to get out of it.

Mizouri had been honest with police from the outset and since the offence has stopped using drugs, found a job and raised thousands of pounds for charity.

He faced being sent to prison for three years, but a judge at Derby Crown Court said on Friday, February 4, he was willing to give him one last chance by deferring his sentencing for six months.

Recorder Michael Ault said some people would think he was “a fool” for doing this, but was moved to do so based on Mizouri’s honesty and progress made since the offence.

Leanne Summers, prosecuting, said Mizouri had been found with the drugs by police searching for CCTV of a separate incident at The Harrow pub, in Ilkeston, on October 17, 2020.

She said officers, knowing Mizouri’s history, decided to search him and they subsequently found 18 individual bags of cocaine with a street value of up to £900.

When interviewed by the police he made full admissions, and claimed “he was in debt and had agreed to sell cocaine because he owed a couple of thousand pounds to somebody”.

Mizouri, of Kenilworth Drive, Ilkeston, was subsequently charged with possession with intent to supply a class A drug, which he pleaded guilty to.

Gareth Gimson, mitigating, said his client had been incredibly forthcoming and had admitted to things the police wouldn’t even have been able to prove.

“I’ve never seen an interview [like it],” he said.

“He tells them more than probably could’ve ever been proven. We would have suspected that he was down playing his drug use were it not for the candour about everything else.

“On the face of it he’s a sort of one-man band paying off the debt rather than being somebody who has made any money out of this.”

Mr Gimson said Mizouri was now clean of drugs and in the 16 months it had taken the case to come to court had gained employment and raised thousands of pounds for charity after the suicides of a couple of friends.

Recorder Michael Ault said it was a “wretchedly sad, miserable case”.

“It is not without some hesitation I’m contemplating that, if he was willing, I would defer sentence until Friday, July 22,” he said.

He said he would do this as long as Mizouri went on to “keep his job, to keep his home and everything else”, and keep up the progress he has made.

Recorder Ault said: “If he can do that I will try to find a more imaginative way of dealing with him. If he doesn’t do that, he sentences himself.

“Many would say I’m a fool for what I’m about to do to you. You are not in very many ways my primary consideration. That is the welfare of wider society.”

He added that Mizouri’s “remarkable” honesty in his police interview, as well as “finally showing signs of growing up” had led to him to decide to defer the sentence.

He deferred sentence to a hearing set to take place at Nottingham Crown Court on July 22, this year.

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