A DRUG dealer selling up to 70 wraps a day in the Broad Street area told the police he was being forced to do it by the Home Office.

Simbar Mondhlani said the government was to blame for him setting up in business to support himself because he was banned from working. But jailing the 31-year-old for three years Judge Robert Pawson told him that his problems were no excuse for turning to selling heroin and crack cocaine.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court officers saw him in the County Road and Manchester Road area on the morning of November 12. They stopped him on a path and when he was asked if he had drugs on him he said he did, producing 30 wraps of heroin and 66 of crack cocaine from a back pocket.

She said he only had £16.07 on him in cash as presumably he had not sold many wraps of drugs. He had a mobile on him which was used for his trade under the name X Factor. Officers also found that he had been regularly making cash deposits in his Nationwide account dating back to the start of last year.

He answered questions candidly, she said, saying he came to Swindon from Birmingham to sell drugs on his own. As he was not allowed to work in the UK he said he could only fund his own habit as well as live by selling drugs.

"Asked if anyone was forcing him to sell drugs he replied: 'Yes, the Home Office,' as he hadn't been able to work since he was 18 and the Home Office had expected him to live off his mum."

He was released under investigation while inquiries were carried out, but in January he went to Gablecross police station and said he had returned to drugs supply. He admitted had been selling around 70 wraps a day on the Manchester Road, County Road, Broad Street area. "He said if released he will simply keep reoffending. He has had no benefits or legitimate income for the last 12 years."

Mondhlani, of Birmingham, admitted possession with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of drugs,

Tim Hills, defending, said his client's parents came to the UK when he was small and he was raised by his grandparents.

He joined his family in Birmingham at 12, but aged 17 he was jailed for assault and told he was to be deported. He had managed to avoid deportation but has not been able to work, either paid or unpaid. Mondhlani was now prepared to return to Zimbabwe on his release because if he remains he will still be unable to work or even attend college.

Jailing him the judge said "You expressed regret in a letter that I have heard, you expressed remorse. Having said that you have also said that you will keep reoffending and that suggests a callous and unrepentant attitude.

"You have a problem, to put it neutrally in inverted commas, with immigration. Having a problem, whatever that is, is no excuse for going out and selling drugs."