A MAN caught again selling crack cocaine to an undercover police officer has walked free from court after a judge told him it may be harder than going to jail.

Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC told dealer Justin Collier, who has 124 previous convictions: “In some ways it may be easier if you just go straight to prison today.”

Instead he put the 42-year-old on a suspended sentence and told him to do another drug rehabilitation requirement having received a similar order 18 months ago. Collier, who goes by the street name of Jutty, was caught in a covert operation targeting town centre dealers.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the deal took place in September last year. Collier, of Stonefield Close, Eastleaze, pleaded guilty to the supply of class A drugs.

The court heard he had 124 previous convictions and was jailed for four years in 2006 for supplying and offering to supply drugs.

Passing sentence Recorder Nicholas Atkinson QC said: “The only appropriate sentence is one of imprisonment but considering the contents of the report that is before me and what has been said on your behalf by your barrister I am satisfied that it is not a sentence you will start today. I take the view that the sentence given a plea of guilty becomes one of two years imprisonment.”

He told him his would be under supervision for 18 months and must complete a six month drug rehabilitation requirement.