A professional fisherman who police netted dealing cannabis has been jailed for more than two years.

Daniel Payne was out of prison on licence when he was spotted by officers selling the class B drug in Chippenham in May.

Swindon Crown Court heard he had twice been convicted of selling cannabis and in 2016 was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for dealing cocaine. Since his arrest he has been recalled on licence and, while at HMP Bristol, been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Sending the 31-year-old down for 25 months on Thursday morning, Judge Jason Taylor QC told Payne he had not learned his lesson. “It is clear to me you are a serial drug dealer.”

Prosecutor Colin Meeke said police had been tipped off about drug dealing in Cowleaze, Chippenham.

On May 20, officers in plain clothes watched as a woman got out of a vehicle in the car park behind the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and handed Payne cash in exchange for what the police suspected to be drugs.

Both the woman and Payne were later stopped. The woman had around £10-worth of cannabis. Two phones, £35 cash and a small amount of cannabis were found on Payne. Messages on his phone pointed to him dealing the drug.

He was interviewed and gave a prepared statement denying he was a drug dealer and said the weed was for his personal use.

Payne, formerly of Cowleaze, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis and possession with intent to supply cannabis.

Alejandra Tascon, defending, said her client had been selling drugs to friends, family and associates in order to fund his own drug habit.

He had started using drugs at an early age. Aged 13 he was sexually assaulted by a family friend, the court heard. When he reported the abuse to his family he was beaten by his father and thrown out of the family home, Ms Tascon said. Taking drugs was the “only way he felt he could forget the ordeal he had gone through”.

Since his release from prison last year he had found work as a professional fisherman, visiting lakes around the country. That employment had stopped during lockdown.

Payne had not been able to see his young child during the pandemic, as the mother of his two-year-old daughter was pregnant and was concerned about the coronavirus.

Ms Tascon said her client had been diagnosed with testicular cancer while in prison. He was an enhanced prisoner at HMP Bristol and had found work on the mental health unit.

Sentencing Payne to 25 months, Judge Taylor said: “I have no doubt this is a significant role [case]. You were performing an operational function, you were motivated by money and you had some awareness of the scale of the operation because it was your operation even if it was a small operation.”