A CANNABIS dealer was caught when police found incriminating text messages on his mobile phone.
Officers found no drugs on Steven Thorne when he was arrested in Bideford but an analysis of his phone showed he had been sending and receiving messages related to cannabis.
He escaped jail after a judge told him it would be better for him to repay his debt to society by doing unpaid community work.
Thorne, 30, of Clifton Street, Bideford, admitted offering to supply cannabis when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court.
He was made subject to a 12 month community order and told to do 120 hours unpaid work by Recorder Mr Robert Linford.
The recorder told him he had operated at the bottom level of the drug dealing chain and only become involved through his own abuse of cannabis.
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said: "The case against this defendant is based on the text messages which were found on his phone.
“There were 42 of these, some outgoing and come incoming which indicated and involvement in the supply of cannabis.”
Mr Greg Richardson, defending, said Thorne had been a user who had shared his drugs with friends and whose role in a chain of supply was well below that of a street dealer.