A FORMER Aylesbury shopkeeper has been jailed for 14 months for selling illicit drugs and steroids under the counter.Â
Ricky Thomas, 25, who ran Health Zone in the Cloisters, supplied customers with a wide variety of drugs commonly abused by bodybuilders, including viagra, testosterone, Diazepam and breast-reduction drugs.
Police raided Thomas's store on February 1 last year, where they discovered large quantities of drugs in cardboard boxes and vast amounts of cash.
The court heard how bodybuilder Thomas had been prosecuted twice before for similar offences, but had never received a custodial sentence.
Defending, David Jones said that despite finding himself in court once more, Thomas had attempted to keep himself out of trouble through setting up his health shop in the Cloisters.
"He was in an honest profession in Friars Square," he said.
"But a lot of the work was surrounding bodybuilding, and he felt he needed to keep his customers happy by selling under the counter materials.
"His customers were body builders, so they knew what they were doing. He is only 25, and he is a young man with promise." Thomas admitted to possession of Class C drugs, between November 2010 and February 2011, with intent to supply and possession of medical products knowing them to be marketed without authorisation.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of medical products with intent to supply.
Thomas also admitted to two additional drug-related offences, which he asked to be taken into account.
Sentencing Thomas, Judge Lord Parmoor, who had also previously sentenced him for a previous offence, told the bodybuilder a custodial sentence was his only option.
"The fact is that you were convicted of similar offences in 2009, and you were given a community order, but then went back to committing these offences in February.
"This is the third time you have committed the same type of offences, despite being prosecuted each time - and these offences are serious and could have led to people suffering.
"The point of the law is to protect people from themselves.
"It has to be a custodial sentence."
Thomas sold a variety of drugs from his store, ranging from male hormone testosterone, to viagra (believed to enrich muscles), Class C drug Diazepam, to breast-reducing drug Letrozole and acne treatment Isotretinoin (to combat undesired physical effects of steroids).
Manager of Friars Sqaure Andy Margieson said that while he was not in his current role when the offences were carried out, he is glad that justice has been served.
"It's a relief that the offender has been dealt with and I am very pleased that the police were so efficient in finding out what was going on," he said.
"I'm glad that Friars Square has been able to distance itself from all of this, and that this criminal activity has been taken out of the town centre."