DRUG dealer Finn Nicholson, who has not held down a job since leaving school, was found with a new pair of £565 trainers and a £300 bottle of champagne, a court was told.

He claimed he was only looking after thousands of pounds-worth of skunk and was just selling cannabis to pay off a debt.

A judge branded his excuses poppycock and said he should be going to prison. But even though Nicholson was still using drugs and dealt while on bail, he imposed a suspended sentence.

George Threlfall, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how officers raided the home of the dealer's mum on Dixon Street on April 6 last year.

In a suitcase in his bedroom they found a vacuum-sealed bag containing 882g of cannabis along with scales and mobile phones.

He was released on bail after questioning and less than two weeks later he was stopped in a car on Cranmore Avenue. Officers searched the vehicle, which reeked of cannabis, and found more drugs in the glove box and hidden down his trousers.

Nicholson's home was searched again and police found more drugs along with the high end trainers and champagne and another two mobiles. On bail again in June, he was caught with a small amount of cannabis and another set of scales, but it had been accepted it was for his own use.

In total just under a kilogram of drugs were seized from him worth up to £9,580 if sold in street deals.

Nicholson, of Devizes Road, admitted two counts of possession with intent to supply and one of possession.

Probation officer Michelle James said he told her on the first occasion he was looking after the drugs for a friend then trying to pay off the debt afterwards. Since his arrest he had continued to use cannabis and cocaine, the last time being at the weekend before to celebrate his birthday. He was currently doing unpaid work after being caught in a stolen car and said he lived on compensation from a car accident when he was 10.

He couldn’t recall what GCSE grades he got, she said, but he had not really worked since leaving school and did not get benefits. His rent in a shared flat was £375 a month and was down to his last £500, so would have to start claiming or get a job.

Curtis Myrie, defending, said his client accepted what he had been doing but wanted to turn his back on it and get into work.

Judge Robert Pawson said “You should really be going to prison straight away. You must take, it seems, everyone else for a fool and it may be that you are pulling the wool over my eye but I am going to give you a chance.

“Cannabis is not a harmless drug that many people appear to think it is because there is any number of people who smoke skunk, many teenagers, who develop psychosis which is a mental illness for life. It is not glamorous, it is not Breaking Bad, it ruins people’s lives Mr Nicholson.”

He imposed a 20 month jail term suspended for two years with a four month curfew.