A DRUG runner swerved an immediate spell behind bars after claiming a devastating brain injury meant he had no memory of selling heroin and crack cocaine to an undercover police officer.

Ryan Price, 39, was hit by a car as he cycled along Queens Drive in 2017. When he woke up in hospital he had no memory of who or where he was and could not even recognise close family members.

Swindon Crown Court heard he had spent four months in hospital and the accident still affected him, with memory loss and difficulties walking

His injuries had made him particularly vulnerable to exploitation. He had no memory of selling two wraps of crack cocaine and a wrap of heroin to an undercover police officer behind The Cricketers pub in the Railway Village last September.

Prosecutor Tessa Hingston said the officer, named in court only as “Yasmin”, had called the Blair drugs line posing as an addict and requesting “three white”, meaning three wraps of crack cocaine. The man accused of running the line, Blair Egerton, is yet to be sentenced for his part in the gang.

When Price was arrested he denied being a drug dealer but said people had been using his house to prepare drugs.

He hinted he was fearful for his own safety, telling detectives: “Put it this way, I like my feet the way they are. I like being alive.”

Price, of Oxford Street, admitted two counts of supplying class A drugs.

In a basis of plea, he said Egerton had a habit of coming to his home uninvited sometimes daily. He would bring other people to the house and they would prepare drugs for sale, even “cooking” the crack cocaine – mixing the white powder with water on a hob in order to create the distinctive hardened rocks.

He said Egerton and his associates would have realised he was too vulnerable to stand up to them.

Matthew Harbinson, defending, said his client was a sick man and, because of his medical problems was unlikely to be helped by probation. “He needs help of a different kind in my respectful submission.”

Price had 20 previous convictions on his record for more than 40 offences, including a charge dating back to 2011 of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. Sentencing Price to two years imprisonment suspended for 18 months, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “If you are approached by any people you feel may be taking advantage of you, you need to speak to your lawyers, the police or somebody in the council because you’re the one who will pay the price.”