A cannabis dealer who offered a three for £10 deal on hash cookies was spared a spell behind bars.

Watchfield man Edward Mercer, 23, who sold the class B drug to a small circle of friends, was found out when police officers followed a smell of cannabis and raided his then home in Rainham Road, Swindon.

Prosecutor Tessa Hingston told Swindon Crown Court they found 66g of cannabis with an estimated street value of £530 and £125 in cash.

Financial investigators discovered payments of £8,500 into his bank account, with £4,127.50 attributed to his drug dealing.

Messages on his phone pointed to him dealing cannabis between February and May 2019. In one message, he told friends ‘weed cookies now in’ – offering the psychoactive treats for £5 each or at a cut-price rate of three for £10.

Emma Handslip, mitigating, said her client began taking cannabis to manage a medical complaint but became addicted to the drug. He now ‘bitterly regretted’ his dealing: “He knows it’s a catastrophic mistake.” 

Mercer, of Shute Avenue, Watchfield, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession of criminal property and possession of ketamine. He had no previous convictions.

Judge Jason Taylor QC imposed an 18 month community order as a direct alternative to custody. 

He said: “Given you are a young man with a future ahead of you and you might be applying for other jobs in the future and also considering international travel, it seems to me a more merciful course, rather than what must be viewed as a mandatory custodial sentence is to pass a community order as a direct alternative.”

Mercer must do 150 hours of unpaid work, complete a four month curfew and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days. 

“I very much hope you’ve learned your lesson. I believe you have and the courts won’t see you again, which is why I have taken the course I have,” Judge Taylor said. 

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