A DRUG dealer’s phone “would not stop ringing” as police pulled him over for a stop and search in Southend.

James Brago has been spared jail after being caught with drugs and nearly £1,000 during a deal taking place in Southend last year.

Police became suspicious of a Ford vehicle when they saw a known Class A drug user getting into the passenger seat on February 15 last year.

Police followed the car which travelled to another location, during which it was established the car was a hire vehicle.

The officers decided to do a stop and search of the car, which was found to have Class A drugs inside, along with £945 in cash.

One of the officers noted that a phone Brago was using kept ringing throughout the search, with some of the numbers he recognised as being from known drug users.

Brago, 30, was taken into custody where he refused to answer any of the police’s questions.

However, he later went on to admit to counts of intent to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced at Basildon Crown Court.

Mitigating, John Caudle said Brago, of Dalson Lane, London, had been in the drugs trade to fund his addiction.

He said: “He is 30 and his son is aged 18 months. Things are now fine with the mother, he sees the baby two to three times a week.

“At the time, he was heavily addicted to the drugs.

“But he has been clean of drugs for the past six months.

“He has turned his life around and regrets very much being involved in drugs.”

Mr Caudle said Brago has now found work outside of the Southend area.

Judge Samantha Cohen told Brago she was satisfied he had gone “cold turkey” from the influence of drugs.

She said: “You have come prepared to go to prison, and you have always attended when you had to.

“You have sought help. You stopped taking drugs.”

Brago was given a suspended prison sentence of two years and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Cohen added: “If you commit any further offences you will be in breach of this, you will come back before me, and I will send you to prison.”