A DEALER who was found with over £3,000 worth of drugs in his home has been spared jail after a court heard that he has turned his life around.

Billy Woodhouse was arrested after a search warrant was executed on his Stafford Street, Darwen home in February of 2019.

Officers found £2,900 worth of the strong cannabis strain, skunk, and over £400 worth of amphetamine inside the address.

Prosecuting the case at Preston Crown Court, Jeremy Grout-Smith said £600 in cash was also found in the home and the type of ventilator often seen in cannabis farms was located in the attic.

The Darwen man has previously appeared in front of a court on 46 occasions with 67 offences against his name.

However Mark Stuart, defending, said that the 35-year-old has significantly turned his life around over the last number of years and it was painting a ‘very different picture’ to the man he once was.

He said: “There are features of mitigation that I believe would allow your honour not to pass an immediate custodial sentence.

“In his teens and twenties, he was in a lot of trouble, usually for offences of violence.

“His only offence in relation to drugs was for possession.

“He had never lost his liberty when it comes to drugs and it is not without a great deal of significance that he has no convictions at all since 2014.

“You can see from both the references and from the pre-sentence report that this defendant has had a number of problems – some with his mental health. At times he was either drinking too much or had other problems.

“He effectively became estranged from his mother and had little contact with his father.

“But in the last few months he has made great strides with his mum, they are back in contact.

“It is a complete change from the man in his early 20s and a different picture that has been painted.”

Accepting that Woodhouse’s involvement in dealing was limited yet the quantity of drugs found inside the home was significant, Judge Andrew Newell passed a sentence which he said he would have struggled to suspend had it not been for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

He was sentenced to one 52 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

Woodhouse must also complete 40 rehabilitation requirement days and abide by an electronic curfew for two months.