A drug dealer in debt to his supplier was severely burned when he was held down and “branded” with a large and extremely hot knife, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Robert Varela was treated in hospital following the attack in October last year, his solicitor advocate said at a sentencing hearing that saw him locked up for two and a half years.

Varela was already serving a 27-month jail term imposed at York Crown Court on Feb-ruary 1 when he appeared before the court in Bradford on a video link to HMP Hull.

The court heard he was locked up for an offence of possession of £2,500 worth of cocaine with intent to supply it, committed in April, 2019.

On December 8 that year he was stopped at 8.40pm by the police in Elsinore Avenue, Elland, and found to have ten wraps of cocaine hidden under the driver’s seat of his VW Golf.

Prosecutor Satpal Roth-Sharma said the stash was valued at £250.

A “burner” phone was also seized from Varela, 26, of Huddersfield Road, Elland.

He went on to plead guilty to the drugs trafficking offence, having also admitted the earlier similar offence from eight months earlier.

The court heard he had five previous convictions for ten offences, including possession of cocaine.

Christopher Haddock said in mitigation that Varela did not intend to mislead the court in York about the second drugs trafficking matter.

“It wasn’t in his interest to sit on this, he wanted to be dealt with,” he said.

Mr Haddock said that Varela had run up a debt to his drugs supplier that saw a family member being threatened.

He had since been held down and branded with a large and extremely hot knife by those he had crossed.

Mr Haddock said Varela was treated in hospital in October last year for severe burns to his back.

“I can think of no more significant deterrent,” he said.

Varela had declined to name the people who did this to him, the court was told.

Recorder Judy Dawson said it was Varela’s second offence of dealing Class A drugs within eight months and he must have known he was under police investigation at the time.

But he had since received “a salutary lesson” from the people he was dealing with.

He was jailed for 30 months to start today, not to run consecutively with the 27 months he was previously serving.