A DRUG dealer who tried to ditch £600-worth of heroin and crack cocaine when he was spotted by police has been spared jail.

Matthew Rowley, of Cotswold Close, Warminster, was handed a 16-month sentence, suspended for a year, for two counts of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply at Salisbury Crown Court on Monday.

Gemma White, prosecuting, said the offences dated back to November 12, 2014.

The 44-year-old was seen acting suspiciously by police officers who saw him drop a package on the floor in Exeter Street, Salisbury which was found to contain almost 6g of heroin and just under 1.5g of crack cocaine, with a street value of £600.

Ms White told the court Rowley had initially denied possession of the package, which was dropped close to where police arrested him.

A search was carried out at his home and a mobile phone was found with text messages revealing his involvement in the supply of these two drugs.

Ms White said the defendant would travel from the Salisbury area to his supplier Stephen White in the Poole area and would bring the drugs back with him.

Stephen White was jailed for seven years in January for drug possession with intent to supply. He was caught with almost 800g of heroin with a street value of £7,900 at his home.

The court heard Rowley had no previous drug-related matters recorded against him.

Defending, Andrew Eddy, said his client started taking drugs for the painkilling effect.

He was not making any profit and only sold drugs to ensure he had enough for his own personal use.

Judge Andrew Barnett said Rowley, who attended court in a wheelchair, had a “ghastly medical history” and since his arrest had managed to beat the drugs.

He added: “You must understand people who peddle class A drugs normally go to prison.”

He said drugs had “vile consequences” and were a “scourge of society”, which “destroyed lives”.

Judge Barnett ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.