A drug dealer was caught by police with cash and drug paraphernalia after officers were called to a report of a disturbance.

Police attended the scene in Cairo Street, Burnley, at around 10.45pm on March 3, 2022, responding to a report of two men in a back alley with machetes.

They spotted a taxi being driven away and brought it to a stop and found Travis Nicholson, 23, as the sole passenger of the taxi.

While no evidence was found that Nicholson was one of the men causing the disturbance, he was searched and was found to have £100 in cash; two mobile phones, one being a Nokia burner phone; a small amount of cannabis, and a grinder.

Prosecuting, James Hudson told Burnley Crown Court that Nicholson made candid admissions to the police that there would be drug-related messages on the Nokia phone.

He said: “Thereafter, the home address of the defendant’s girlfriend was searched and scales and two lots of cannabis were found along with some empty snap bags.

“The defendant admitted in interview that he had possession of the cannabis. He admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis by way of those phone messages, dating back to 2020.”

Mr Hudson said some of the messages had been recovered and included one on May 3, 2020, saying “fire flavours, 35s all night, get at me” followed by a list of drugs on offer.

Nicholson, of Kirkdene Avenue, Foulridge, has one previous conviction for possession of cannabis as a youth.

Mitigating for Nicholson, Thomas Worsfold said his client pleaded guilty in the lower court at the earliest opportunity and accepted responsibility and “was very candid with the officers about what he’d been doing.”

It was also said Nicholson felt as though the police were “setting him free from the situation he found himself in” having ran up a debt he was struggling to get out of.

Mr Worsfold said: “He was not resilient enough and not old enough to know better, but he is now gaining maturity.”

Recorder Nick Flanagan, sentencing, said: “Police were called to Cairo Street in Burnley to a report of two men with machetes. I make it plain I am not sentencing you as being either of those men, but you were seen in a taxi driving away.

“You admitted to officers there would be drug-related text messages on your phone, a very candid admission from the start.

“It is clear you had a difficult start to life, and you were raised by your grandparents. You owe them a great debt.

“I have no hesitation in finding you played a significant role in this enterprise. You were involved in direct street dealing of cannabis and you were dealing it to make a significant profit.

“You are young. I am satisfied there is a reasonable prospect of you being rehabilitated.”

Recorder Flanagan sentenced Nicholson to 20 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. Nicholson will also be subjected to a six-month alcohol treatment programme and must complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.