Police found £3,000 worth of cocaine when they stopped drug dealer in his car in Leeds

A drug dealer who was caught with over £3,000 worth of cocaine in his car in Leeds has avoided being sent to prison.

Declan Needham was stopped by police officers on the A61 after he failed to stop in time for traffic lights on September 8, 2019.

Emily Jenkins, prosecuting, said the 24-year-old defendant appeared nervous when he spoke with the officers and they decided to search the vehicle.

The officers discovered a large amount of cash, digital scales and two mobile phones.

Leeds Crown Court

In the back of the Vauxhall Astra was a bag which contained cocaine worth £3,080.

Needham was interviewed and claimed the cash had been paid to him for building work he had carried out.

He refused to provide the pin codes for the mobile phones and refused to comment further.

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Imran Khan, mitigating, said Needham became involved in drug dealing to fund his own addiction to cocaine.

Mr Khan said the defendant had been seeking help for his addiction in the weeks before he was arrested.

The barrister said Needham had worked hard to become free of the drug during the two years since the offence.

He had provided negative tests for cocaine on regular occasions and continues to receive support.

Recorder Kama Melly QC told Needham she was prepared to take an exceptional course by not imposing an immediate prison sentence.

She said: "This was a significant amount of a class A drug.

"You know yourself the misery that drug use can bring."

Needham was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also made the subject of a curfew order for two months.