A MINI market trader who sold cannabis openly from his shop was “duped” into doing so because he believed it was a legal product.

Police were tipped off that Saran Singh Navjot, 27, from Blaina, had the class B drug for sale at his shop, Steven Donoghue, prosecuting, said.

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Officers arrived to seize the cannabis but the defendant later received certificates from the supplying company reassuring him the goods were above board.

He continued to sell the drug until police were called to his shop months later on an unrelated matter to investigate a theft there.


Cardiff Crown Court heard Navjot had bought sachets of what he believed were “various types of flowers” but were in fact the flowering heads of cannabis plants.

The product had names like Gelato and Gorilla Glue.

Mr Donoghue said: “This case is a little unusual as it relates to a mini market trader who was openly selling cannabis.

“However, it is accepted he was being misled about the product by the company who sold them to him.

“On September 7, 2019, the police were contacted by a member of the public and they went to the Cwmcelyn Mini Market.”

The prosecutor told how officers spoke to a shop assistant working for Navjot and seized 19 sachets of the cannabis weighing 9.4g.

When the police investigated a theft at the store on February 13, they discovered the defendant was still selling the illegal product.

A further 27 packets of cannabis weighing 12.9g were confiscated.

Mr Donoghue said Navjot had contacted his supplier after the September 2019 seizure to tell them of the police investigation and the firm provided him with documentation claiming the product was lawful.

The prosecutor said: “What they say is at best misleading. At worst they are lies.

“The defendant was drawn in by naivety or exploitation. He was duped into selling them.

“He believed he was acting lawfully.”

Mr Donoghue added how the police and local authority are currently investigating the company.

He added: “This product is being sold by at least six outlets in the Gwent area.”

Navjot, of Cwmcelyn Road, admitted two counts of possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

Jeffrey Jones, mitigating, asked the court to take into account his client’s guilty pleas and his previous clean character.

His barrister added: “The defendant was not operating in a drug world in a clandestine manner.

“He is very ashamed and upset for his wife and father who are in court to support him.”

Mr Jones said Navjot has now sold his share of the shop business.

Judge David Wynn Morgan told the defendant: “The prosecution accept you didn’t know you were selling an illegal product.

“That doesn’t afford you a defence but it is substantial mitigation.

“You were taken in by those much more criminally sophisticated than you.”

He fined the defendant £500 and ordered him to pay a £50 surcharge.