A DRUG dealer who gave free cocaine and ketamine to a woman he was 'infatuated with' in a bid to woo her has been spared jail.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Mohammed Shah initially started dealing cannabis in the summer of 2016 to pay off a £7,000 drug debt.

But the court heard how the 30-year-old conservatory fitter had cleared that by the September of that year and continued to sell the Class B drug for his own financial benefit until he was caught by police in January 2017.

Prosecuting, Emma Kehoe said police officers saw Shah and a second man acting suspiciously in a car in Accrington on January 26, last year.

Ms Kehoe said: "They came across a grey Ford Focus which they saw was in an area known for drug dealing. They noticed two men sat in the vehicle. They both appeared to be nervous on the site of the police car. The passenger got out and made off.

"It was then the officers approached and followed the Focus. They brought the vehicle to a stop very quickly. They approached the vehicle and it was Mr Shah who was driving it. He was physically shaking."

Ms Kehoe said that when officers opened the door to the Focus there was a strong smell of cannabis. Shah had his mobile phone in his hand but it appeared to officers that he was trying to delete information off it. Down the front of Shah's trousers officers found a bag containing a number of raps of cannabis. Further raps of cannabis were found under the driver's seat of the vehicle. Around £130 in cash was found in his pocket. Officers seized the mobile phone Shah was holding and a second handset found in the vehicle.

Ms Kehoe said Shah was arrested and taken to Greenbank Police Station in Blackburn. While he was in custody police searched his house and found more two mobile phones and 'dealer lists'.

On one of the phones seized in the car officers found text messages linked to drug dealing. There were also conversations dating back three months between Shah and a woman named in court as Donna Beverley in which they discuss selling ketamine and cocaine. But in his basis of plea Shah, of , Dill Hall Lane, Church, accepted he sourced ketamine and cocaine for Ms Beverley infrequently and gave it her for free in a bid to impress her. And he also accepted that in December 2016 he discussed sourcing larger amounts of the drug for Ms Beverley who wanted to sell it herself.

In Shah's room officers found a 'personal plan for the year' in which he set out goals for 2016. Within this document he stated he wanted to become a better person, clear all his debts within three to six months, find a girlfriend, namely Donna, stop selling drugs by March, find a new social circle and start a drinks distribution business.

Shah pleading guilty possession of cannabis with intent to supply. being concerned in the supply of ketamine and being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

Defending, Brendan O'Leary said: "At the outset I accept he stands to be sentenced for grave and serious offences. Perhaps all the more tragic for a man of 30-years-of-age who is of previous good character."

Sentencing Shah to 16 months imprisonment but suspending it for two years, Judge Simon Medland QC said: "You come from a law-abiding, successful and respected family. They must be absolutely appalled and embarrassed to see you standing in the dock at the crown court."

Shah must complete 200 hours unpaid work and a 25 day rehabilitation activity requirement.