A DRUG dealing dad-to-be found with over £2,000 of cocaine in a Malvern fast food drive-through will miss the birth of his first child after a judge sent him to jail.

Ciaran Grant admitted possession of the class A drug with intent to supply after being found with the drug at McDonald’s drive-through in Malvern’s retail park in Roman Way. He was also found with £1,278 in cash which he still maintains was payment for a fencing job and not the proceeds of drug dealing.

The 25-year-old of Moat Way, Malvern, was jailed by judge Jim Tindal at Worcester Crown Court on Friday.

John Brotherton, prosecuting, said he arrived at the address of his ex-partner in Moat Way, Malvern on October 27, 2017 which led to ‘an altercation’ and he was thrown out of the property by the woman’s aunt.

Mr Brotherton said there was reference to the defendant returning to the address with a knife but that ‘nothing has come of this incident’ and asked that matter to lie on file.

He added: “He drives way and it is said there is a collision with another vehicle.”

However, the defendant left the scene and police were notified and conducted an area search for the car. Officers found the car at McDonald’s drive through at the retail park in Roman Way, Malvern at 10.30pm.

Officers recovered a kitchen knife from the front passenger side footwell, two grinders and a wrap of white powder. They later discovered 21.9g of cocaine with a street value placed at £2,200 and £1,278 in cash. A cover for a set of mini scales and mobile phones were also seized.

Mr Brotherton said: “On one of those telephones are found messages consistent with the supply of class A drugs.”

Grant was taken to Worcester Police Station and interviewed, submitting a prepared statement in which he said he was ‘not a dealer’ and the drugs recovered were for his ‘personal use only’.

The defendant had no previous convictions and only one previous caution. Mr Brotherton argued that Grant had a significant role in the dealing and argued it was a category three case with a starting point in the sentencing guidelines of four years and six months in prison and a range available of between three years and six months and seven years in custody.

Kavita Kumar, defending, said: “He states he committed these offence because he was a drug user, not a regular drug user, just an occasional drug user.

“Class A drugs are an expensive habit and, for that reason, he found himself dealing these drugs in order to fund his own habit."

Miss Kumar said her client maintained the cash was from ‘a legitimate source’, payment for a fencing job. He had intended to see his brother in London which is why he had so much cash, Miss Kumar explained to the judge.

However, it was revealed that Grant had not submitted any evidence to prove where the cash came from or was likely to be forthcoming.

Miss Kumar said her client was in employment, a job that would remain open to him should the judge be minded to suspend the prison sentence.

She told him: “There’s a baby on the way. The baby is due in a matter of months. That would be his first child. The thought of missing the birth of his first child weighs heavily on his mind.”

Judge Jim Tindal said cases of supplying class A drugs were reasonably common in the courts but this was ‘a lot of drugs’ by the standards of these sort of drugs and this represented a jump to quite serious offending.

The judge said he would not sentence him on the basis that the cash found came from dealing drugs even though he said the money ‘probably had something to do with the drugs’.

He gave the defendant a one third reduction in the length of his sentence for the guilty plea and took into account several mitigating factors, including that Grant was reasonably young and had no previous convictions, that he was working and that he was in a relationship with a baby on the way.

However, he said there was nothing he had heard which could persuade him, in the interests of justice, to depart from the sentencing guidelines and that it was not a sentence he could suspend.

The judge jailed him for two years of which he can expect to serve half in custody and half in the community on licence. He said this sentence would mean that though Grant would miss the birth of his child he would be ‘out of prison reasonably soon afterwards’.

The judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.