A DRUG dealer who threw bags of heroin into a school playground when he was being chased by police has been jailed for more than two years.

Luke Muir was spotted carrying out a drug deal in Stockton and riding off on his bike when he saw the police approaching.

The 21-year-old initially managed to escape but was caught moments after throwing the drugs away in a desperate attempt to avoid arrest, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Victoria Lamballe, prosecuting, said police recovered £200 in a cash and a mobile phone from the defendant before searching the school grounds and picking up 24 packages containing a total of £2,800 worth of heroin.

She said: "In interview, he said he bought the drugs for a £1,000 but this was on credit and had been selling the drugs for around two weeks, accruing a debt of £150 from using cocaine and cannabis and was dealing to discharge that debt.

"He was loitering around shops in the area hoping to sell drugs and accepted that when his phone was interrogated it would show people asking him for drugs."

The Northern Echo: Luke MuirLuke Muir

Miss Lamballe said the defendant denied that he was selling drugs on behalf of anyone else but he boasted about 'making plenty of money' in a message to a friend.

The court heard that he was in possession of 100 grammes of the Class A drug when he was caught.

Muir, of Scurfield Street, Stockton, pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to supply heroin following his arrest in August last year.

Nigel Soppitt, in mitigation, said his client had never been in trouble before and had turned to dealing to pay for his own addiction.

He said: "His mother is distraught about what has happened to her son, she has seen him turn from a young teenager to someone using seriously addictive drugs and now sadly supplying them.

"It seems that in a really short space of time he graduated to selling drugs."

Mr Soppitt said Muir could have been targeted by members of a drugs gang as he was of 'slight build' and had no previous convictions – 'it is clear he is being controlled'.

Recorder Peter Makepeace QC sentenced Muir to 28 months in custody following his guilty plea and efforts to address his own drug use since he was arrested more than a year ago.

He said: "You did attempt to dispose of evidence when the police sought to arrest you, in the course of doing so, you discarded drugs into a school playing field – you knew it was a school playing field because you told the police that in interview and that is a serious aggravating feature.

"If the police hadn't recovered those drugs, bags of heroin would have been lying in a sandpit when the children went to school the next day."

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