A drugs runner flew to Thailand in order to make a break from dealers in Eldene.

Louis Roberts, 19, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in July as he returned from the Far East.

Swindon Crown Court heard that a year earlier he’d been photographed passing over heroin and crack cocaine to an undercover police officer, who was in Swindon as part of an operation to understand the scale of County Lines dealing.

Prosecutor Alec Small said the officer, known only as Steve, had called the Eldene drugs line on June 18, 2019, after receiving an advertising text message promising they were “on all day selling good portions”.

“Steve” rang the line and asked for a wrap of “white”, or crack cocaine, and one “dark”, or heroin.

He was told to go to an underpass near the Dorcan Way Morrisons supermarket, where he joined another addict.

Roberts, then just 17-years-old, came up to them on a push bike. The officer handed over £20 and received a wrap of crack cocaine, which he was assured would give him two hits of the drug.

The runner was identified from a police surveillance image by a PCSO. Analysis showed the 0.16g wrap of the cocaine was just 52 per cent purity.

Two days later, on June 20, Steve called the line again and was directed to the Crumpled Horn pub in Eldene. Roberts took £20 and gave him a 0.05g wrap of heroin and 0.08g wrap of crack cocaine from a large bag of drugs.

Rob Ross, defending, hinted his client may have come under some pressure to sell drugs. “There are a couple of people further up the chain who all the young people are fearful of,” he said.

“He came into contact with people he didn’t feel strong enough to resist. He’s not a class A user, never has been.”

The teenager had flown to Thailand last year in order to get away from old associates in Swindon. He was arrested as he got off the plane at Heathrow Airport in July this year.

Since coming back to Wiltshire he had moved with his mum to Devizes. He was hoping to complete his qualification by the end of the month enabling him to work on construction sites.

Roberts, of Belle Vue Road, Devizes, pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying class A drugs.

Judge Peter Crabtree said he would take an exceptional course and follow a probation service recommendation that Roberts was given a community order. Sentencing him to a two year order with 25 rehabilitation days and 120 hours of unpaid work, the judge said: “I don’t want to see you again. I would rather you were building my patio or porch.”