A TEENAGER returned to dealing cannabis after losing his warehouse job during lockdown, a court heard.

Kurtis Knee, 19, was caught with more than £750-worth of cannabis in his rucksack and £610 cash by plain clothes police officers who caught him by Shaftesbury Lake, Park South, on August 13 last year.

When they went to his home, officers found drugs paraphernalia including foreign-branded cannabis bags in a bedside drawer and more cannabis.

The youngster, who was sentenced for cannabis dealing in 2019 while still a youth, also had a burner phone used to deal the class B drug. There were pictures saved on his devices of eight-ounce cannabis deals and a photograph of somebody holding a large amount of cash.

Prosecutor Charles Digby told Swindon Crown Court the cannabis weighed 112g in total, broken down into one ounce, half-ounce and eight-ounce deals.

A police expert had estimated the street value of the drugs to be £755.

Interviewed by officers, Knee answered no comment to most of the questions put to him but confirmed that 5.5g of cannabis found in his room was for his own personal use.

Defending, Matthew Harbinson said his client had got a job at a warehouse thanks in part to the help of the youth offending team, who were working with the youngster after his conviction in January 2019 for possession with intent to supply cannabis.

He’d enjoyed the job, but was laid off in 2020 as the pandemic struck. He had made a “stupid decision” to return to selling cannabis in order to make money. He bitterly regretted that decision, Mr Harbinson said.

He asked the judge to keep Knee out of prison, saying there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

That was queried by Recorder Roger Harris, who noted that Knee had been selling drugs little more than a year after he was sentenced for the same offence. Probation officer Michelle James said the defendant had proven he could work with rehabilitation services and added: “Sometimes it takes several cycles of intervention for somebody to properly consolidate the learning.”

Knee, of Keswick Road, Park North, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to possession with intent to supply class B drugs and possession of criminal property.

Sentencing Knee to 10 months in a young offenders’ institute, Recorder Harris said: “I have considered whether it is suspended but have decided that only an immediate custodial sentence would be appropriate in the present case.”

The cannabis, drugs paraphernalia and cash were forfeit.