A drug dealer who watched his friend being stabbed to death was picked up with £820-worth of crack cocaine and heroin in Swindon hospital in the wake of another stabbing.

Swindon Crown Court heard that Londoner Haroon Rehman had been caught by police officers despatched to Great Western Hospital in the wake of a stabbing in Ponting Street on March 4, 2018.

Prosecutor Edward Hollingsworth said the 22-year-old was with two men who had suffered serious wounds in the attack. Rehman, who was uninjured, fled from the officers. He discarded a package later discovered to contain 37 wraps of crack and 45 wraps of heroin, together worth around £820 on the street.

Analysis of his mobile phone showed he’d sent a message asking to be “re-upped” – slang for being re-supplied with drugs. He had £260 in cash.

While on bail for the Swindon matters and subject to a suspended sentence imposed at Harrow Crown Court in March 2019 for burglary and aggravated vehicle-taking, Rehman was picked up in Gloucester selling cannabis.

When officers raided his home on January 23, 2020, they uncovered £570-worth of cannabis and £168 in cash.

Defending, Asma Khan said her client had been brought up in London. He had been addicted to class B drugs from his mid-teens and had developed a drugs debt, which he had been working to pay off.

He continued to suffer from post-traumatic stress as a result of watching as his friend was stabbed to death in front of him in 2017.

His family had moved from London to Gloucester in order to get Rehman away from gangs in the capital.

It had been hoped that rehabilitation sessions ordered as part of his suspended sentence in 2019 would address issues around drugs, gangs and violence through. However, the work had never started – with the probation service citing long waiting lists.

That failure was criticised by Judge Robert Pawson, who said: “That doesn’t assist the courts, it doesn’t assist defendants and it doesn’t assist the public. It’s not an excuse but it is a factor, it seems to me, in mitigation.”

Rehman, formerly of Clarendon Road, East London, admitted possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin in Swindon in 2018, possession with intent to supply cannabis in Gloucester in 2020, and simple possession of cannabis.

Sentencing him to three years and two months’ imprisonment, Judge Pawson said: “You’ve got a close, caring family, yes? They’ve moved house, they’ve relocated from London to Gloucester to try and assist you.

“It may sound or seem to you at 22 that three years and two months is a long sentence. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t. It’s not the end of your life.”

The drugs and cash were forfeit.