A Newbury drug dealer was busted by the police after just one day in the business.

Callum McMahon, 26, appeared before Reading Crown Court today (March 8), where Judge Michael Hick decided against jailing him. 

Prosecuting barrister Paul Lennon said that the defendant was arrested by police leaving a known "drug den" in Claremont Crescent, Newbury - a short walk from his own home.

The prosecutor said: "He appeared under the influence of drugs, and had white powder under his nose.

"A search was carried out. Mr McMahon then started fiddling with his jeans, near to the bottom area."

McMahon was searched, and around £700 of cocaine was found on his person.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.

Letitia Egan, defending McMahon, said he had started selling in a bid to feed his own cocaine habit.

She claimed he had only been dealing for a day when at the time of his arrest, and had since tried to reform his ways.

Mrs Egan said: "He accepts he still has a problem - that is a problem he wants help with. But he has taken steps, from his own volition, to address his own usage."

The judge noted that the seriousness of McMahon's offending could only justify a prison sentence.

But Mrs Egan stressed that immediately jailing McMahon would likely derail the steps he had taken to rehabilitate himself.

She said: "Prisons are also full of negative associations - drugs, plenty of drugs that he would still be exposed to."

Rounding off the sentencing hearing, Judge Hick remarked that McMahon's journey from drug use to dealing was a common one.

Addressing the defendant, he said: "Drug dealing is a scourge, really, of society, and ruins so many people's lives. It often starts at the street level, with people using, and then gradually slipping into dealing drugs.

"The consequences on individuals' lives, and their families - no doubt your own family - are significant, and not to be underestimated."

But the judge decided to suspend McMahon's two-year prison sentence for two years.

He must complete 150 hours of unpaid work over the next year, and continue to seek help for his drug use.

Rounding the case off, Judge Hick told McMahon: "You must understand you're getting a big chance here."