A TEENAGER has been jailed after failing to convince a judge that he was looking after 24 bags of MDMA in his car for his friends to use at a party.

Jack William Stevens had already pleaded guilty to being in possession of the Class A drug with intent to supply, when he appeared at before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court in September.

But on Friday he tried, and failed, to convince a judge at Durham Crown Court that the dealing was ‘social’ and that the drugs had been bought by a pool of friends.

The court heard that police stopped the defendant, of Bryony Walk, in Shotton Colliery, when he was seen driving a Ford car erratically, on Friday, July 17.

A search of the vehicle discovered 24 grip seal bags containing white powder, later found to be methamphetamine, throughout the car.

Stevens voluntarily gave police access to his iPhone on which they found Snapchat messages to and from the defendant suggesting the drugs were for distribution.

The 19-year-old claimed he had collected the drugs from a man near Mecca bingo, in Stockton, after he and four friends clubbed together to buy what they believed would be 28g for £100, though it was closer to 19g.

He said he was storing the substance in his car before the group would share it at a party they planned to attend, in Hartlepool, that weekend.

And he claimed Snapchat conversations in which he chatted with a girl about the price of drugs and being a drug dealer ‘all his life’ were ‘jovial banter’ meant to impress her.

Robert Turton, prosecuting, said: “We were not all born yesterday, we know young people pool drugs. Why would she presume because you were pooling drugs you are drug dealing?”

“That’s the impression she got,” said Stevens.

Mr Turton asked why he had sent messages referring to ‘an ounce of Mandy’ and stating ‘30 a gram, 15 a bar’, which suggested he was stating the price he would sell the drugs and that he knew dealer terminology, if he was not dealing.

Stevens replied: “For roughly six to eight months I was using that substance at a weekend and I was paying £30 a gram. I don’t know what a bar is, I think I meant to type half.”

Judge Ray Singh said: “You have tried to say you paid £100 for 28g, when each gram is normally £30.

“That is £840 worth.”

“That’s the reason we went for it, it was an advertisement on Snapchat. A friend said it was a lot cheaper,” he replied.

When asked to name his associates he said they were called Henry, James, Jordan and Max but refused to provide the court with their surnames.

The judge did not accept Stevens’ case that the drugs were for social supply.

Neil Bennet, mitigating, said: “He was 18 years and six weeks old at the time of the offence.

“He is an immature young man, trying to impress a young lady who clearly thinks a person who deals drugs has some level of attraction.”

He said Stevens had left school with 11 GCSEs, has a good work ethic and his employer had provided a good reference and was willing to continue his employment should he escape a custodial sentence.

Judge Singh said: “Time and time again people have been told, those who are involved in the supply of class A drugs must go to prison, there are no two ways about that."

He sentenced Stevens to 32 months custody in a Young Offender Institution, to serve half there and the rest on licence, with no separate penalty for a charge of possession of cannabis.

The judge also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and mobile phone.