A MAN suspected of drug dealing in Witham has avoided jail.

James Lucia, 33, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for 24 months after appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday, July 17).

Officers raided Lucia's house and car in Ness Walk on Thursday, June 13, and found cocaine with a street value of about £1,840.

They also found plastic bags, scales, and a mobile phone with text messages about drug deals. He also had £540 in cash on him.

Lucia was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to supply and acquiring, using or possessing criminal property.

He admitted the charges at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday June 15.

As well as being handed a suspended prison sentenced, Lucia was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, 20 days rehabilitation activity and given a curfew from 6pm to 6am for three months.

The drugs and paraphernalia will be destroyed.

Braintree district commander Chief Inspector Janette Rawlingson said: “Every day we are targeting drug dealers, whether that’s gathering evidence or carrying out visible patrols and search warrants.

“If you are dealing drugs in our district, we know who you are and it’s only a matter of time before we arrest you.”

Anyone with information on drug-dealing is asked to call 101 or report online at www.essex.police.uk/do-it-online

Alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org