A DRUG user who sold cannabis among a small circle of friends to help fund his own habit was told that he was now a convicted “dealer”, in the eyes of the law.

The comments were made by a judge as he passed a suspended prison sentence on Nathan Williams, warning him that if he continues to dabble in the sale of drugs he was at risk of his first immediate jail term.

Williams, 21, was appearing at Durham Crown Court having been committed for sentence by magistrates after he admitted possessing a class B drug with intent to supply.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said it stemmed from a police visit to Williams’ home address in Chester-le-Street, on Friday July 27.

“The officer was invited in, but on entry there was a strong smell of cannabis and a search was carried out.”

A single wrap of cannabis bush was recovered from the kitchen, while a crisp tube was found containing a further eight foil wraps,.

Two large white bags of cannabis were also discovered, as was a piece of paper containing a list of phones numbers and so Williams phone was seized.

When interviewed, he accepted the cannabis was his, and then gave a mix of ‘no comment’ replies, with the suggestion that the cannabis was all for personal use.

But he later conceded he intended to sell the eight wraps to friends as he was, “struggling for money”.

On his own admission, he conceded the cannabis was not of great quality.

The court heard Williams has five convictions for 11 offences, including one for mere drug possession.

Lewis Kerr, for Williams, of Rea Court, Chester-le-Street, urged Judge Jonathan Carroll to pass a sentence which would not condemn Williams to his first taste of custody.

“He’s a young man who has been on a community order for other matters, which he has completed with some success.

“This was very low-level supply to about a maximum of ten people.”

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Mr Kerr: “He’s a drug user trying to fund his own habit.

“If he doesn’t stop now, he’s going to get a prison sentence very soon.

“He’s going to get one chance and, if he does it again, he’ll come back for sentence and it will be an immediate prison sentence.”

Passing an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years, Judge Carroll ordered Williams to undergo 180-hours of unpaid work and attend 30-Probation supervised activity days.

“Selling to your mates turns you from a drug user to a drug dealer, so, you are taking a leap into the deep end if you carry on.”