A COURT has heard how a drugs bust has left a family at war as two cousins blame each other for the trouble they are in.

Jamie O'Hara says younger relative Christopher Healey, 23, roped him into selling cannabis to help pay his car insurance.

The 30-year-old accepts driving around his cousin, storing the drugs at his home and dealing, but on only a few occasions.

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Healey said O'Hara was equally involved in the plot when police arrested the pair in Thornaby, last April.

A court heard how the cousins now do not speak and refused to acknowledge one another as they awaited their fate yesterday.

The pair were given suspended prison sentences with unpaid community work.

Barristers for both questioned the versions of the other, but asked Judge Gillian Matthews not to lock them up.

Nigel Soppitt, for O'Hara, said he was persuaded to join the drugs plot by his girlfriend, but has since blamed her and they have separated.

Mr Soppitt said: "His part is peripheral. If there was a chain, it was aminuscule one.

It only had two links."

He said the asbestos remover has not been in trouble since police raided his then home, and he has moved back in with his parents.

Duncan McReddie, for unemployed Healey, said: "It is his version that this was quite simply a joint enterprise.

"Christopher Healey recognises that he has done wrong.

He, too, in the intervening year, has remained free from any offending."

Healey, of Redcar Road, Thornaby, and O'Hara, of Kilburn Road, Stockton, admitted supplying Class B drugs and possessing drugs with intent to supply.

Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said police found mobile phones - used by both men - with drug-dealing text messages on. Mr Soppitt said: "Jamie O'Hara says this enterprise was suggested by Healey. They are not speaking at the moment, so I do not know if he takes exception to that."

Judge Matthews told the cousins that their plot was a cynical attempt to make money by dealing on the streets.

She said: "I treat you as jointly guilty. The Crown cannot split the two of you and I do not think I am in a position to either."