A YOUNG cannabis dealer claimed the thousands of pounds in his bank account and cash in his bedroom came from loans to friends and the proceeds from trading shares.

Paul Osei-Antwi, 21, was jailed for 27 months at Swindon Crown Court after he admitted possession with intent to supply class B drugs and possession of criminal property.

Sending the Toothill man down on Monday afternoon, Judge Peter Crabtree said the offences were so serious only an immediate custodial sentence was justified.

Osei-Antwi was first arrested by Swindon police on January 26, 2019. Cannabis was found in a backpack in his car boot and further drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized from his home. He had £7,190 in cash in his bedroom, £560 in his wallet and £50 in the central console of his car.

A month later, on February 23, his VW Golf was stopped again. He had £322 in cash and discarded a bag containing 16g of cannabis wraps beneath the front passenger seat of the police patrol car he was sat in by officers.

In total, the drugs seized had a street value of £625. Checks of his bank account showed that thousands of pounds - given in court documents as £14,784.55 - had passed through his Nationwide account between January 2018 and February 2019.

An iPhone was analysed, with drugs expert Mark Newton describing the download of messages as one of the biggest he’d seen.

One of the messages showed him arranging a deal – not completed – to sell another a “nine bar”, slang for nine ounces of cannabis.

Interviewed by police in January, Osei-Antwi explained why he had a large amount of cash in his bedroom, telling detectives he had a number of cash-in-hand jobs and also traded stocks and shares. The following month, he said he loaned money to friends.

Defending, Rob Ross said his client was remorseful, had stayed out of trouble since being arrested and had hopes of going to university.

“He is still a young man, 21 years of age. Much of this criminality took place either when he was still a youth or just into adulthood. It wouldn’t be uncommon for young men to get involved in exactly the way he did,” the advocate said.

“He is an intelligent young man who took a very, very poor decision when he was 17/18 to get involved in drug dealing. What we can thank the lord for is that he didn’t get involved in anything more serious than cannabis.

“He’s learnt this is not the way to do things. The way to do things is to use the brain you’ve got to get an education.”

Osei-Antwi, of Beaulieu Close, Toothill, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession of crack cocaine and possession of criminal property.

Judge Crabtree sentenced Osei-Antwi to two years and three months’ custody. The drugs, cash and drug paraphernalia were forfeit.