A BASINGSTOKE father who found himself in a "vicious circle" after owing money to a drugs line was found to have more than £85,000 worth of class A drugs in his home.

Wayne Diamond was jailed after he was found with almost a kilogram of heroin and crack cocaine at his address at Lower Brook Street, Brookvale when he was stopped by police in September.

The 57-year-old was also found with a taser, which he said was used as a deterrent when dealing, which he admitted to at Winchester Crown Court on Friday morning.

Diamond was found to have a "significant" role in a class A drugs line operating in Basingstoke, where he was responsible for holding on to large quantities of drugs, taking them to be bagged, and then selling those bags on to users.

He had a drug addiction, and fell into debt with the line, which forced him to start dealing to pay back money, prosecutor Emily Lanham told the court.

Diamond, who has previously been sent to prison both in the UK and France for drugs trafficking, had left his house on the morning of Sunday, September 6 when he was stopped by police and searched. He was found with three wraps of drugs on him.

“His house was searched and a large quantity of heroin and crack cocaine was discovered," Ms Lanham continued.

"He admitted that he was a drug user and dealer. He said he would usually take the drugs and bury them until necessary, and it was bad timing that the police stopped him when they did.

"He has experience of hiding criminal activity, as I said he usually buries the drugs for some time before he needs them.

"He is an experienced dealer, and has engaged with a violent gang to purchase the drugs and then went on to supply for them to pay back money.”

Defending, Jollyon Robertson told the court that he was in debt because of his drug addiction, and had made considerable effort to find a legitimate job to pay back the money before these offences were committed.

"The fact that no money was found at his address, speak volumes in this case," Mr Robertson told the court. "It confirms his credibility in his accounts to police.

"If he was a major player as it were then one might have expected, following a chance stop, to find a substantial amount of money.

"Effectively what I am saying is he found himself in a vicious circle."

But Judge William Mousley QC highlighted the seriousness of the offences when passing sentence.

"But for a few grams more, these offences would have fallen into the next category up, where the sentence would have started at eight years," he told Diamond.

"The seriousness of these offences is such that it is right at the top of category three before I consider where there are any aggravating factors.

"Also aggravating is the prevalence of class A drug dealing in Basingstoke, which is having a serious community impact."

Judge Mousley said that without mitigation, he would have sentenced Diamond to nine years in prison.

But after taking into consideration his early guilty plea, the 57-year-old was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison, of which he is expected to serve half.

He will also have to pay a victim surcharge, whilst the drugs and taser will be forfeited and destroyed.