A CANNABIS dealer who has avoided jail has turned his life around and is now working to teach young people about the perils of drugs, a court heard.
Mold Crown Court heard that Matthew Gareth Tisdale, 24, had completely transformed his life since being arrested for supplying the class B drug.
He had stopped taking cannabis, got himself a home and had undertaken charity work.
Tisdale had, through the charity, obtained funding for a new programme which he had devised to teach young people about the perils of drugs.
The defendant, of Dinas, Treowen, Newtown, changed his plea and admitted that between July and November, 2015, he was concerned in the supply of a quantity of cannabis.
Judge Niclas Parry told him that he had been “a serious player” as the organiser of a small group supplying harmful drugs, in a part of Wales that was blighted by the harm caused by drugs.
The judge said he should realise that the starting point in sentencing was 12 months with a range up to three years.
But he had pleaded guilty and the judge said he had to have regard to the fact that “we are now 17 months on” since he committed the offence.
In that time he had been able to transform his life and had become a valued member of society assisting others in voluntary work, he had given up drugs and he had a home to live in.
It would, the judge said, be “utterly destructive” to put all of that to one side.
He said he regarded it as a highly unusual case and he imposed a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Tisdale was placed on rehabilitation and ordered to follow a probation programme – together with a four month curfew to keep him indoors between 6.30pm and 6am.
“I give you this chance because of the constructive use you have made of the last 17 months.
“It is now up to you if you take it,” the judge told him.
Prosecuting barrister Paulinus Barnes told how police searched two addresses in Newtown and found cannabis.
There were drugs with an estimated street value of £2,000 in one address.
They were the defendant’s drugs and he was the organiser – while a young woman was described as a minder and a young man was said to be a runner, doing his “dirty work”.
Both had been dealt with by community orders in the local magistrates’ court on previous occasions.
Oliver King, defending, said that the defendant now had a stable address, no longer took cannabis, had done extensive voluntary work with a charity and had devised a new project due to be rolled out in March to warn young people of the dangers of drugs.
“He has turned his life around,” said Mr King.
The defendant could draw on his own experience in the care system and try to persuade other young people not to make the same mistakes as he had done in the past.
He also had an interview for employment in similar work.