A TEENAGER claimed that the £1,300 stash of cannabis found in his bedroom was for his personal use.

Dikson Fernandes, now 20, later admitted the lie – pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply the class B drug.

Prosecutor Tom Wilkins told Swindon Crown Court on Wednesday that police spotted Fernandes acting suspiciously in an alleyway on April 4 last year.

The man, who was then aged 19, told the officers he was out trying to buy some “zoots” – slang for cannabis cigarettes.

Mr Wilkins said: “When they saw him engaging in conversation with somebody passing by in a car they were concerned it might possibly lead to the destruction of further evidence.”

They took a key from him and searched his parents’ house nearby. In the teenager’s bedroom the police found around 130g of cannabis and £4,600 cash.

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“He was interviewed and he said that the drugs were for personal use and the cash had been legitimately acquired through working in local takeaways,” the prosecutor said.

“Enquiries in fact established he could not possibly have earned that much given the short periods he had declared to HMRC he had worked at those employments.”

Fernandes, of Ponting Street, Broadgreen, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possession with intent to supply cannabis and possession of criminal property.

Andrew Howarth, mitigating, said his client had been supporting his own habit and paying off a £1,000 drug debt. He had been making a modest profit.

“He struggled with lockdown and his cannabis use grew. He did gain a debt as a result of that,” the barrister said.

Since the offences came to light he’d managed to kick his addiction to cannabis. He was looking for work in the construction industry.

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Fernandes still lived at home and helped around the house. He had two convictions for minor matters and had nothing on his record for supplying drugs.

Mr Howarth asked the judge to suspend any period of imprisonment. “He has stayed out of trouble and remained drug free and therefore in terms of rehabilitation the outlook is positive.”

Sentencing Fernandes to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “You were clearly performing an operational function, you were motivated by significant financial advantage to repay your debt and indeed even though your debt was £1,000 you obviously had cash well in excess of that.”

He must complete 200 hours of unpaid work. The cash and drugs were forfeit.