A MAN who plied cannabis to users during an 18-month drug dealing operation has been spared jail - after saying he was a 'changed man.'

When Greg Murray was caught police officers also found on him a police-style baton as well as a tyre lever.

Investigators also seized a sheath for a 12 inch knife, but the blade was not found.

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The 23-year-old of Green's Road, Eynsham, had already admitted to one count of being concerned in the supply of class B drugs.

He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Outlining the case prosecutor Alexandra Bull said Murray was caught after officers went to an address in Witney on the afternoon of February 19 2018.

As they approached three men ran off, and one of them was Murray.

There was a 'strong smell of cannabis' and police found on him a knife sheath and later a 'police style baton' and a tyre lever.

A mobile phone was also taken and examined and officers went on to uncover a cannabis dealing operation spanning some 18 months, beginning in May 2016.

He was interviewed about the drug dealing and refused to answer any questions before later pleading guilty to the offence.

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The court heard that Murray had no previous convictions for other drug related offences.

In mitigation at the sentencing hearing Jaspreet Dhaliwal, defending, said that his client was 'absolutely terrified' about the prospect of going to prison.

He added that Murray had experienced a difficult childhood and said that he was 'extremely remorseful' for what he had done.

He went on to say that after a brief period on remand in prison and becoming a father Murray was now a 'changed man.'

He said: "He works as hard as he can now by legitimate means in order to [be] the best person for his son.

"To be the father figure he never had."

It was also revealed that the former labourer had gone on to complete a number of qualifications including for plumbing.

Mr Dhaliwal added: "He is well aware of the risk of custody today.

"He has learned a stark lesson of exactly what he is at risk of."

Sentencing, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: "You are your own worst enemy.

"You put [everything] in jeopardy by what you did in that 18-month period, dealing cannabis.

"You were doing that to feed your own abuse of cannabis and for money."

He said that Murray played a 'significant role' in the drug dealing and he would suspend the jail term that he would impose.

Murray was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years.

He must also complete a 23-day programme requirement and a drug rehabilitation requirement for six months.

Murray must also pay a statutory victim surcharge.