A TEENAGER who began street drug dealing for “easy money” after giving up a good job with HM Revenue and Customs has been locked up for two years and four months.

Sending Mohammed Ihthisham to a young offender institution for peddling crack cocaine and heroin, Judge Jonathan Rose warned: “If you sell drugs, you go to prison, and that’s what is going to happen in your case.”

Ihthisham, now 20, of Sunderland Road, Manningham, Bradford, pleaded guilty to two offences of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs committed on November 27 last year.

Prosecutor Andrew Horton told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that Ihthisham was seen behaving suspiciously by police officers patrolling the Highfield area of Keighley in an

unmarked car.

They saw Ihthisham, who was 19 at the time, walk out of a ginnel to sell drugs to someone in a garden in Mornington Street.

When arrested and searched, he was found to have 10 wraps of heroin in his pocket, worth £85 and of 62 per cent purity, and five wraps of crack cocaine, valued at £36 and of 80 per cent purity.

Ihthisham also had a phone on him referring to dealing in w and b, meaning white and brown, slang for cocaine and heroin. He also had £50 in cash on him.

He made no comment when he was questioned by the police.

Solicitor advocate Michael Walsh conceded that Ihthisham was “in an extremely precarious position”.

He had a good job with HM Customs and Revenue before leaving that employment and spending time in the wrong company.

Ihthisham then felt pressured to deal in drugs and had been doing it for about two weeks when he was caught.

Mr Walsh said that his client was young and immature and had since turned his life around.

His arrest, almost 11 months ago, had been the jolt he needed and he was glad he had been apprehended.

He knew he had brought shame on his respectable and hard-working family, none of whom had ever been in trouble with the police.

Ihthisham now worked in a restaurant and he was studying business, maths and English at college.

He also had the opportunity of a placement with a major supermarket chain in Bradford.

He had committed no offences before or since.

Mr Walsh urged the court to exercise mercy and not send him to custody.

But Judge Rose said Ihthisham was an intelligent man who knew the damage drugs did to people in the community.

“You saw this as easy money and chose that rather than obtaining other employment,” he said.

Judge Rose warned other young men of a similar age to Ihthisham that immediate custody awaits them if they sell drugs on the streets.