A DRUG dealer has been jailed for eight years for his part in a deal worth up to £100,000.

Simon Day, 36, of Walmsley Street, Rishton, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of 20,000 ecstasy tablets when he appeared at Lancaster Crown Court.

The father-of-three took part in the deal while he was on early release from a six-year prison sentence imposed in 2001 for conspiring to supply amphetamines, the court was told.

And Day, who is a registered carer for his disabled girlfriend, was slammed by Judge Christopher Cornwall and warned that, as a father, he should have known better.

The judge said: "The drug itself is a dangerous drug. A single dose can cause severe toxic poisoning or even - as is well known from a number of unhappy cases - instant death.

"Likewise as time has progressed there is a greater understanding of the physiological and psychological harm that reported use of ecstasy causes to the body of the person who uses it.

"Anyone who assists in the distribution of this drug loses their liberty for a significant periods whether their involvement is minder, courier, facilitator or seller.

"It seems to me that you, a father of young children the oldest of whom is almost a teenager, should have been particularly conscious of the terrible dangers that attend on the distribution of this drug."

The court heard how Day had been arrested by police at his home in July last year.

The court was told that officers were keeping a second man under surveillance when he met with Day unexpectedly.

The two men were followed to Whitewell Road near Accrington Cemetery where they were lost by police for a short time.

Robert Elias, prosecuting, said a meeting had taken place involving a third man.

Day was arrested the same day. A police search of the second man's car turned up more than 20,000 ecstasy tablets with a street value of between £30,000-£100,000, the court was told.

But Kenneth Hind, defending, claimed Day was simply the go-between and argued for his sentence to be lower than usual for such a crime.

He said: "The stress and pressure on him and his family have been great.

"The children are all upset by what has happened, particularly the younger one, who has taken it very badly."

Day was sentenced to 12 months for breaking the terms of his release for the 2001 conviction, and seven years for the latest crime, the sentences to run consecutively.

Detective Inspector Pat Gill said: "This is a significant result for the Lancashire Serious and Organised Crime Unit. These tablets can be sold anywhere for between £2 and £5 each, so seizures of this magnitude are very impactive on the drugs gangs who produce them.

"We continue to pro-actively target people we believe are involved in this activity."

l David Stuart, 25, of Blackpool, had a warrant issued for his arrest, after failing to turn up at a court hearing earlier this year in connection with similar charges.