A dealer’s stash of deadly drugs was uncovered in a police raid after he was earlier caught trying to buy sweets with counterfeit cash at a city shopping centre.
Frank Spencer tried to pay for a slush drink and some pick-and-mix using a fake £20 note at The Bridges in Sunderland last August.
Despite being told the money was not real, the 29-year-old went on to try to buy a magazine and more sweets at a newsagents on Chester Road, using the same counterfeit cash.
Newcastle Crown Court heard police who had been alerted to the scam then raided his home the following day and found 19 fake £20 notes. But their search also uncovered an illegal haul of methedrone worth more than £2,000.
Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: “Police went into his bedroom and told him they were looking for further money.
“They describe him trying to shuffle a shoe box under his bed in order to conceal the box, which contained methedrone.
“During the course of the search they found a significant amount of money, including 19 further £20 notes confirmed as fake.”
Spencer, of Portslade Road, Pennywell, Sunderland, admitted possessing and attempting to use the counterfeit currency as well as possession of methedrone with intent.
He confessed he was the “middle man” for street dealers and would bag the drugs going out for sale.
Mr Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC jailed Spencer for a total of 22 months.
The judge said: “People who deal, at whatever level, in drugs and counterfeit currency inevitably face a custodial sentence.
“There is a duty upon the courts where counterfeit currency is involved.
“The Court of Appeal has said quite a few times how serious that is.
“It is an offence that has to be marked with an immediate custodial term, that is the view of the Court of Appeal.”
The judge added: “Middle men, holding drugs for suppliers are playing an essential role in the supply of drugs onto the streets.”
The court heard Spencer has previous convictions for drug possession but none for dealing.
Gavin Doig, defending, said Spencer has a good work ethic and supportive family and partner.