POLICE were tipped off about a drug dealer selling cannabis after a whistleblower overheard a row between him and his partner in a school playground.

Later, officers arrived at Jonathan Ayres’ home in Radial Court, Colchester, where he told them he sold drugs to his friends.

Ayres admitted possession with intent to supply a Class B drug when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Henny Tatum, prosecuting said: “He was very honest and candid telling police: ‘I ain’t growing it but I do sell it.’ “He let the officers look around and they found a large quantity of herbal cannabis and other related items likes scales and bags.

“The cannabis was in buckets and there was a white piece of paper with a list of names on it.

“In an interview he made full admissions he sells cannabis on a social level to friends.”

Graham Brown, mitigating, told the court Ayres sold cannabis to top up his income because his Crohn’s disease had meant he could not work as a plasterer as much as before.

He said: “The greatest mitigation is his frank admissions to the police and his guilty plea.

“For a number of years he has not been well with stomach problems.

“At one point he thought it was cancer but in the last few months it has been diagnosed as Crohn’s disease.

“It is very debilitating.

“He realises deciding to sell cannabis was the wrong decision to take.

“He says he bought 30g of cannabis and the vast majority of it was recovered by police when they came to his house.”

The court heard since the incident in October, Ayres’ relationship with his partner has broken up and he has moved back with his parents in Arnhem Grove, Braintree.

Ayres, 47, was given a 12-month community order and must complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay court charges of £170.