Drug dealer spared jail

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A DRUG dealer made £500 every three weeks by selling cannabis on the streets.

Darren Harper put his different-sized deals in plastic bags neatly labelled with prices ranging from £5 to £20, Durham Crown Court heard.

“Police searched his home in March of last year,” said Shaun Dryden, prosecuting. They found 342g of cannabis divided into eight plastic snap bags with the price on each one.

“The street value of the drugs seized is estimated at £930. Harper told police he was in financial difficulties and turned to dealing to make ends meet and to fund his own habit.

“He said he would go to Nottingham about every three weeks and pay £200 for cannabis on which he would make £500 profit.”

Harper, 35, of Troutbeck Way, Peterlee, admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply it.

He has previous convictions for going equipped and offences of dishonesty.

William Davison, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Harper was dealing to friends and acquaintances primarily to fund his own habit, which is now much-reduced.

“The financial gain was not great, and there was no evidence of luxurious living when police raided his home.

“He is determined to stop using cannabis and has recently been doing agency work which could lead to a full-time position.”

The Recorder, Mr Paul Watson QC, jailed Harper for nine months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to do 140 hours of community work and pay £340 costs.

“Sending you to immediate custody is an option,” the recorder told Harper.

“But we are dealing with a limited uantity of drugs, you have no previous drugs convictions, and you made full and frank admissions to the police.

“Rather than what would be a short time in prison, I think society will be better served by you doing community work.”

The drugs seized in the raid were confiscated and will be destroyed.

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