Two drug dealers caught with almost £18,000 of cannabis were spared immediate prison sentences after a delay of more than two years in bringing their case to court.

Solomon Nathaniel Brown and Christian Aaron Hall were involved in supplying cannabis in Swindon in 2019 and 2020.

But Judge Jason Taylor QC deemed it was just to suspend both their prison sentences on July 5 after it took more than two years for them to appear for sentence.

He said the delay worked in their favour, and that there is now a “realistic prospect of rehabilitation”.

Swindon Advertiser: The drugs seized by officers.The drugs seized by officers.

Swindon Crown Court had earlier been told how police were concerned about a white Mercedes in Morse Gardens, Westlea, at around 7pm on March 4, 2020.

When officers arrived, they found Brown in the vehicle with a bag for life stuffed full of 2.5 kilograms of cannabis, prosecutor Tabitha Macfarlane told the court.

Meanwhile, police raided Hall’s address on that road and found more cannabis, digital scales, and a laundry bag full of clear airlock bags.

“The phone taken from Mr Brown from the arrest was analysed and on that phone was extensive evidence of dealing and buying large amounts of cannabis,” Ms Macfarlane added, saying it appeared Brown had been involved in dealing since June 2019.

Swindon Advertiser: Solomon Brown outside Swindon Crown CourtSolomon Brown outside Swindon Crown Court

The drugs were given a street value of £15,575, but could have been sold for as much as £17,800.

Defending Brown, of Snow Hill in Bath, Matthew Comer highlighted that the offences are now over two years old, and said that his client was “relatively lightly convicted”.

He asked the judge to suspend any custodial sentence, and said: “He’s 22 years of age and his offending as an adult all relate to being involved in drugs, for the most part that’s Class B drugs.

“He tells me he no longer smokes cannabis, he doesn’t take cocaine, he drinks only occasionally.”

Meanwhile, representing Hall, of New Road in Swindon, Matthew Graham said his client “grew up in a broken home characterised by drug misuse and violence”.

“He recalls the drug dealer neighbour, he saw him shoot the family dog. He heard the machete attack in the adjoining bedroom.”

Mr Graham said his client left school with no qualifications but still showed “aspects of his character that could shine”.

It was the death of his sister nine years ago that sent him sinking “into a depressive cycle”.

“In truth he was a mess, depressed, self-medicating, struggling, not working, and that is the context for him being in possession of the drugs described in March 2020,” Mr Graham said of the dad-of-two.

But he said he had started to turn his life around, telling the court that the 28-year-old now has work, is free from drugs and is in the “action stage”.

“He is now being the young man that he has always been capable of and can have genuine hope for him.”

Mr Graham also invited Judge Taylor, who had earlier labelled Hall the “prime mover” of the two, to suspend any prison term.

Brown had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis and offering to supply Class A drugs, whilst Hall had admitted possession of cannabis with the intent to supply.

Sentencing, the judge said that both defendants “have shown strong personal mitigation and given the delay, there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation”.

Brown was given a two year sentence, suspended for two years, which will include 45 rehabilitation activity days and 250 hours of unpaid work.

Hall was given a 20 month sentence, also suspended for two years, which will include a six month drug rehabilitation requirement, a mental health treatment requirement, ten rehabilitation activity days and 150 hours of unpaid work.