A drug dealer’s girlfriend had told him enough was enough – as he appeared in court a second time for selling heroin and crack cocaine.

Lewis Ayre was said to have been ‘given an ultimatum’ by his other half.

She had told him 'this is it', Oxford Crown Court heard.

The 23-year-old could be seen wiping his eyes in the dock as his barrister, Dana Bilan, urged the judge to keep any jail time to a minimum.

“He’s a clever young man and he can do better than this,” she said.

Sending him down for three years on Friday, Judge Ian Pringle QC said: “When I read these papers as I went through the digital case system I despaired.

“You have all the hallmarks of being a third striker next time.

“I then read the letters from this girlfriend and your mother and I have been passed today a letter from you.

“You are incredibly lucky to have their support and you say in the letter you are so grateful for them.

“Show them that. It’s all very easy, you know, for people who appear in front of me [to] tell me they’re going to put everything behind them when they come out.

“It’s very easy to say that at the beginning of your sentence. It’s what you do at the end of your sentence that counts.”

Prosecutor Matthew Knight earlier said Ayre had been released from prison in January this year part-way through a two-and-a-half year sentence for drug dealing.

On October 26, plain clothes police officers patrolling Banbury town centre in a hire car spotted Ayre get out a car in Church Street and go into an alleyway.

They caught up with the vehicle at a petrol station in Cherwell Street. Ayre tried to hide what turned out to be 22 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine down the side of a seat. He had £155 in cash on him in addition to the drugs, which were worth around £300 on the street. When they searched his home, police officers found £900 in a bag hanging from a door.

Mr Knight said of the defendant: “He’s not wet behind the ears. He knows what he’s doing. He knows how to acquire the drugs, he knows how to sell, he has some understanding of how the operation works.”

Mitigating, Ms Bilan said her client had been dealing to pay off a debt to gangsters higher-up the chain. The debt was incurred when he lost the drugs in the arrest that led to his first conviction for supplying class As.

Ayre, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

Lewis Ayres mugshot Picture: TVP/NQ

Lewis Ayre's mugshot Picture: TVP/NQ

Following the sentencing, officer in the case PC Chris Eaton said: “Tackling drugs supply remains a top priority for Thames Valley Police. We will actively seek to disrupt organised drug supply to protect our communities.

“Through our Stronghold commitment, we work in partnership with local authorities, social services and the other emergency services, to tackle serious organised crime and exploitation, such as county lines drug dealing."

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