A drug dealer has been spared jail after being caught in a sting to disrupt the supply of heroin in Preston.
Craig Hewitson, 21, was one of 19 drug dealers to be sentenced after being caught by an undercover officer, known only as Walshy, selling drugs in the New Hall Lane area of the city.
Hewitson, of Charnock Street, Deepdale, was the only dealer to walk free from court as the other 18 defendants were jailed for a total of almost 60 years.
Preston Crown Court heard on January 8 Walshy spotted Hewitson approaching a car with two men inside and watched as what appeared to be a drug deal took place.
He then approached Hewitson, who confirmed he had just bought drugs and asked Walshy what he was after.
The undercover officer told the dealer he was looking for heroin and Hewitson produced a bag containing around eight wraps of drugs and sold a bag to Walshy for £10. The following day Walshy called the number and he bought another £10 bag of drugs.
However despite being contacted on at least another seven occasions, Hewitson did not sell the officer any more drugs and later on told him he had stopped dealing. The court heard Hewitson had accrued a drugs debt and had been coerced into dealing to pay it off.
Hewitson pleaded guilty to counts of supplying heroin.
Judge John Gibson told him: “Dealing in class A drugs, even when you are addicted to those drugs, is a very serious matter which usually will result in an immediate custodial sentence.” He handed him an 18 month suspended sentence with 250 hours of unpaid work and a three month curfew.