A DRUG dealer who was armed with a butterfly knife as he peddled cannabis on the streets of Swindon has walked free from court.

Dean Mulholland had the weapon in his pockets as he was seen passing a deal through the window of a car.

But after ruling the 23-year-old had the blade on him ‘for no criminal purpose’ a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Sergeant Scott Hargreave spotted the deal taking place on Wednes-day, April 3 last year.

The officer was with a colleague on Minety Road, Penhill, at 7.20pm when he saw a man who he knew was a drug user taking part in the transaction with the defendant.

“The two of them were detained. Mr Mulholland had in his possession a drawstring bag with 18 individual snap seal bags each containing cannabis,” he said.

“There was a further £125 in cash, a butterfly knife, a mobile phone and a grinder.”

He said his home was also searched and in the bin in his bedroom they found cannabis stalks and other wrappings with the smell of cannabis in them.

On his phone, messages relating to the drugs trade were found including one reading ‘Can I have a 10 bag?’.

Mr Meeke said the butterfly knife was an offensive weapon per se, meaning it is illegal to possess it in public.

Mulholland, of Limes Avenue, Pinehurst, pleaded guilty to possessing drugs with intent to supply and having an offensive weapon.

Rob Ross, defending, said the offence took place more than a year ago and had probably taken so long to come to court because the police had more important cases. He said he had admitted selling the cannabis on the basis that he was covering his own use of the drugs with the proceeds.

Mr Ross told the court his client had bought an ounce of the drugs and cut some off to sell to friends.

Until late last year he said he had been in work and had been out of trouble since his arrest.

Passing sentence Judge Douglas Field said: “This was street dealing in a reasonably limited way. “It has just got into the significant role in the guidelines.”

He imposed a six-month jail term suspended for a year and told him to observe a night-time curfew for four months and do 100 hours of unpaid work.

He said he would pass a concurrent sentence for the offensive weapon saying: “There is no evidence you had this knife in your possession for any criminal purpose.”

But after saying he had been ‘arrogant’ when he saw the probation officer the judge warned him if he failed to do the work he risked jail.

“If you wake up in the morning and decide it's a bit beneath you to turn up and do some unpaid work you'll be going to prison,” he said. The judge also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and knife and told him to pay an £80 surcharge.