AN apprentice electrician was caught with almost £10,000 of a dance drug after being pulled over by police for a routine check on a defective tyre.
Adam Thompson claimed he was transporting the half kilogram of miaow-miaow for a friend but messages found by police on his mobile phone showed he was selling it for profit.
The father-of-six was spared jail at Exeter Crown Court so he could carry on his training and provide for his family.
Thompson, aged 32, of Stucley Road, Bideford, admitted possessing a class B drug with intent to supply and was jailed for nine months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work and pay £340 costs.
Judge John Neligan told him: “If you went to prison you would probably lose your job and your family structure would be completely damaged and that would not do the community any good at all.
“It is better to keep you in work and give you a chance to pay something back to the community.”
Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said Thompson’s car was stopped by police in Barnstaple in January because he had a defective tyre and officers noticed a large bag of white powder.
They seized £200 cash and a mobile phone from which they downloaded messages which showed he was dealing in the drug.
He said: “Thompson said he was moving the drug as a favour for a friend but the messages on his phone contradict that story.”
Mr Nigel Wraith, defending, said Thompson had serious family responsibilities with four children of his own from two relationships and two stepchildren.
He said his employer had come to court to confirm he wanted him to stay out of prison so he could complete a four-year apprenticeship.
He said: “He acknowledges it was an extremely foolish thing to do and he should have had nothing whatsoever to do with these drugs.”