A DRUG dealer who peddled Class A drugs to help his prisoner brother clear a debt has been jailed.

Amir Taseem got involved in plying drugs after his brother – a serving prisoner – was caught with a phone and spice in jail, and incurred a debt as a result.

The 23-year-old of Manor Road, Banbury, appeared at Oxford Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.

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He had already admitted charges relating to the supply of crack cocaine and cocaine.

Outlining the case at the hearing, prosecutor Cathy Olliver said officers had suspected Taseem was part of a drugs operation that had its origin in Birmingham.

Going to his home, police found Taseem and located a quantity of cocaine.

He was also caught with cannabis in August while at a Co-Op store.

On analysing his mobile phone after that incident messages relating to drug dealing were found including one which read ‘24/7’ - indicating that the sale of drugs was taking place.

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Prosecutors said that when he was interviewed about the drugs by police he was ‘incredibly frank.’

He told officers that he was working for a gang selling drugs and said he got involved in the crime because of his brother.

Ms Olliver said: “He said it was because his brother is serving a prison sentence and he had a mobile phone and spice in prison.

“He had incurred a debt so by selling the drugs he was keeping his brother safe.”

She added that there was no evidence from the prison about any concerns involving Taseem’s brother.

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Defending, Sahil Sinha said his client – who has no previous convictions – accepted the drug dealing was a 'stupid action'.

He said: “This is offending that I would say is clearly out of character for a very young man.

“He recognises that immediate custody is going to be at the forefront of the court’s mind and recognises the need for drug offending to face punishment.

“But I would ask the court to keep that as short as possible.”

Sentencing, Judge Nigel Daly said a sentence of immediate incarceration had to be imposed for the offending.

He said: “There was a reason beneath [the offending], it was in order to protect your brother.

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“But nonetheless you got involved in supplying Class A drugs.

“The usual situation when somebody gets themselves involved in Class A drugs which are going to be sold to others on the streets is a starting point of four-and-a-half years' custody.

“This does not fall into the ‘significant role’ [category] it goes into the ‘lesser role’, but the starting point is three years' custody with a range of two to four-and-a-half years.”

Taseem was jailed for a total of 32 months and he must pay a statutory victim surcharge.

That jail term was comprised of 16 months in prison for being concerned in the supply of drugs consecutive to a further sentence of 16 months in prison for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs – cocaine and crack.

Another count he admitted of simple possession of cocaine received no separate penalty.