A Nottingham drug dealer was given an early Christmas present as he was spared prison, despite a scathing attack from the judge in which he called the defendant “pathetic”, “idiot”, and an “embarrassment”.

Curtis Sheard, of Ryeland Gardens, the Meadows, was given an 18 month suspended sentence after being found with crack and morphine.

He appeared before Judge Rafferty QC at Nottingham Crown Court charged with two counts of possession with intent to sell.

At the time of his arrest, the 21-year-old was found with amounts of the drugs to the value of more than £200.

The court heard how on August 17 last year, PC North was on patrol in Ryeland Gardens when he saw the defendant by an underpass pass an item to another male.

When the officer approached Sheard, a struggle ensued, whilst another male suspect who was with him managed to run away.

He was searched at the police station and was found with the drugs, along with £252 cash on his person.

“You’ve done absolutely nothing to escape what has gotten you into trouble”

Judge Rafferty QC

Ms Jones, in mitigation, told the judge Sheard had been threatened with a firearm and intimidated into selling drugs after he managed to get into debt with some other drug dealers.

He said: “Individuals invited him to smoke cannabis with them for a period, then turned around and demanded the money he owed.

“He supports his brother who is currently in a wheelchair following a motorbike incident, on a day to day basis, and he has tried to support his family in the past.”

Judge Rafferty QC condemned Sheard’s actions, saying: “You’ve done absolutely nothing to escape what has gotten you into trouble.

“If I was to sentence you thinking there was a hope of rehabilitation, I would lock you up and throw away the key.”

Before sentencing, he warned Sheard: “Your 20s will vanish. No sentence will show you how stupid and selfish you have been. With real hesitation, I will spare you a custodial sentence, not for your sake but your family’s.”

He handed unemployed Sheard an 18 month suspended sentence for his charges, as well as being required to take a thinking skills course and enter into a six month drugs rehabilitation programme.

Sheard was warned that if he appeared before Judge Rafferty again, the consequences would be much more serious.