A man has been jailed for drugs offences after being found with a large amount of cash and a mobile phone containing text messages relating to drug deals.

Officers witnessed a suspected drug deal taking place from a car in Little Oxcroft, Basildon, on Monday 4 March

They followed it to Wayletts, where they found four people including Ben Grace.

The 22-year-old had £1,230 in cash and a mobile phone with text messages advertising crack cocaine and heroin for supply.

A small amount of crack cocaine and cannabis were found inside the car, along with a lock knife and a suspected CS spray canister and bottle of ammonia.

Grace, of no fixed address, was charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin, being concerned in the supply of cocaine, and assaulting an emergency worker.

He admitted the charges at Basildon Crown Court on Friday 5 April and was jailed for two years and five months for the drugs charges and one week for the assault, all to run concurrently.

The money was seized and the drugs will be destroyed.

Investigating officer PC Adam Blackwell, of Op Raptor South, said: “The court heard Grace had a significant role in the drugs operation, which he claimed he felt pressured into being part of to pay off a drugs debt.

“This case is yet another stark reminder of the destructive impact of drugs and the gangs associated with them.

“It’s a far from glamorous lifestyle and is one that is overshadowed by fear and worse.

“We’ll continue to target and bring to justice those involved in drugs supply, and urge anyone with information to contact us so we can take action against those people.”