A CHEF who sold cannabis to fund his own addiction to the illicit herb was unmasked by chance when a police dog stumbled across his car.

Swindon magistrates were told the animal was helping its handler on an unrelated job when it picked up a scent, leading it to Callum Hyner’s vehicle.

Tom Power, prosecuting, said officers had found around £100-worth of cannabis packaged in a way that suggested the 23-year-old was dealing the class B drug. There were five bags containing 1g of cannabis and two bags of 1.8g.

Police seized Hyner’s phone and, when they went round to his house, discovered vaping equipment later confirmed to have been stolen from David Holt, director of Swindon’s Vape Ninja store.

“He recognised the goods as being from his shop,” Mr Power said.

Hyner, of Juliana Close, Middleleaze, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply and handling stolen goods.

Magistrates were told Hyner had begun selling cannabis to friends and associates in a bid to fund his own habit. He had smoked the drug since the age of 12.

The professional chef also saw it as a way of helping to support himself, after he had lost his job at a north Swindon pub and found himself effectively blacklisted and back living at home with his mum.

He had never sold cannabis to children or strangers, only to his friends and others he knew. Since being caught out by the police he had managed to drastically cut his cannabis use. Once smoking between £40 and £60 of the drug a day, now £10-worth of the herb would last him up to a week.

Hyner and his friends were said to have been approached by a man unknown to him, offering bargain vaping equipment. At the time, he had thought it seemed too good to be true.

Representing himself at Swindon Magistrates’ Court, remorseful Hyner said: “I’m very much aware that what I did was wrong and I have spent the last year and nine months of my life trying to make up for those mistakes.”

He added: “I came here ready to face the consequences of my actions.”

Michelle James, for the probation service, said Hyner had been assessed as suitable for drug rehabilitation by an officer from addiction service Turning Point: “Her words were that he’s he most motivated person she’s ever assessed.”

Magistrates sentenced him to a community order, requiring him to complete 150 hours’ unpaid work, 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and pay £170 in costs and victim surcharge. He was also given a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.