A drug user was exposed as a dealer when police found a series of texts from his ex-girlfriend begging him to stop.
Craig Morland had £303 of cocaine wraps hidden in the ashtray and passenger door of his Mercedes when police pulled him over in January.
The 28-year-old, who also had over £300 in cash, insisted he was simply a heavy user - but messages found on his mobile phone revealed he was a supplier.
Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told Newcastle Crown Court: “There were text messages between him and his ex-partner where she was complaining about the detrimental effect his dealing of drugs was having.”
Morland, of Richard Street, Houghton-le-Spring, admitted supplying the class A drug and was jailed for three years.
Judge Tim Gittens said the once-respected carpenter was a “dealer in misery and drugs”.
The judge told him: “The sad fact is, no doubt your partner was desperately trying to get you to stop being involved in drugs and you ignored her.
“You ignored the risks that were inevitable in the form of custody.
“It has to be prison because of the misery class A drugs cause.”
Bob Spragg, defending, handed in a stack of refences from respected members of the community about Morland’s previously positive standing as a good father, friend and work colleague.
Mr Gittens said Morland started selling to pay off debt from his own use of the drug.
He said: “He started as a go-between, helping get drugs for his friends, but, as he accepts, he began to sell small amounts to friends and friends of friends to pay off his debt.
“That was the plan, to pay off his debt and stop.
“If he had listened to his girlfriend perhaps it would have stopped him.”
Mr Spragg said Morland has “sorted his life out” since his arrest and remains a “hard-working family man” whose offending was a “blip”.
Prosecutors have launched an investigation into Morland’s assets, which may be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.