A DRUG dealer who was found in possession of a "large rock" of crack cocaine has avoided being jailed.

Luke Kirby, 30, of Beach Way, Jaywick, was arrested back in May 2019 following a police raid.

After telling them where to look, officers found 46 wraps of heroin, 19 wraps of cocaine and a large rock of rack cocaine weighing 15 and a half grams.

Kirby was handed a suspended sentence of two years on both counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin after appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday.

He is also required to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Timothy Walker said: “I accept Mr Kirby pleaded guilty but little credit is given for that as it was done so very late because of his own actions.

“The original trial was set for June last year but the defendant failed to attend and a subsequent warrant was issued for his arrest.

“A further warrant was issued in January and he has been remanded in custody since March.”

Kirby is a repeat offender with eight previous convictions for 13 offences ranging from dishonesty to failing to comply with sentences imposed and drug offences.

His most recent offence was in October 2019 for possession of cannabis, cocaine and heroin.

Joe Bird, prosecuting, added: “Mr Kirby is also charged with criminal possession, namely £825 in cash which was found at his property during the raid.

“When examined, the large rock of crack cocaine was found to be worth between £300 and £500 pounds.

“However, if it was broken down into smaller pieces to sell on the street the price would increase to between £775 and £1550.”

Kirby received a suspended sentence of three months to be served concurrently for the criminal possession charge.

If he commits an offence within two years, Kirby will be required to serve the rest of his sentence in jail.

Kirby’s time in custody from March was the first time he had been imprisoned in his adult life, following a 28 day young offenders institute stint in 2012.