A DRUG dealer has been spared prison so he can be rehabilitated and "contribute to society".

Jay Disley, of Coopersales, Laindon, admitted three counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs after police officers caught him red-handed.

The 20-year-old was in a Ford Transit van on May 4, earlier this year, with three other men, in an area of Basildon when police officers noticed known drug users interacting with them.

The officers proceeded to pull the van over and searched the vehicle as well as Disley.

Appearing for sentencing at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, it was heard that officers found in possession of almost 13 grams of cocaine, with a street value of £508, as well as 2 grams of crack cocaine.

Disley was arrested and while in custody, officers conducted a search of his home where they recovered a further 19 grams of cocaine, worth £773, as well as two sets of scales, £1,435 in cash and phones containing evidence of drug dealing.

Sentencing him, judge Samantha Leigh said: "These are not insignificant amounts in terms of either money or drugs themselves.

"You don't have any previous convictions and have a very supportive family. You also have one of the best pre-sentence reports I have seen in a long time.

"It is your choice what happens now. If you do the orders I am about to you on and do what you need to do, you hopefully will not be back in the criminal justice system.

"I am very mindful of the guidance to judges and whether courts should take every opportunity they can to stop sending people to custody where there is a chance of rehabilitation."

Judge Leigh sentenced Disley to 20 months in prison suspended for 24 months. He must complete 60 days of a rehabilitation activity and 18 months of drug rehabilitation.

Judge Leigh also ordered him to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and made him subject to a curfew for four months.

She added: "You need to stay away from the drugs as I am sure you understand. If you complete the rehabilitation, you will not be on drugs and will be contributing to society."