A HOUSING association engineer who supplied drugs to fuel his own cocaine habit has avoided a prison sentence as he has to look after his son.

Police searched the home of Matthew Hardy, in Vigo Road, Andover, on December 12, last year, after receiving intelligence in relation to drug dealing.

Officers found £7,990 on the top of a wardrobe and messages indicative of selling drugs to a variety of people.

Winchester Crown Court on Thursday was told that a deal list was discovered which added up to £127,000 worth of drugs being handled.

Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said that in interview the 35-year-old said he was “selling cocaine to people he knew”.

She added: “He didn’t get paid any money but got paid in small amounts of cocaine. It is an element of financial gain.

“He accepted the messages on the phone, and they were with regards to the dealing of cocaine.”

No drugs were located in the Aster gas engineer’s home address during the police search, but designer trainers and a new iPhone still in the box were found.

Hardy had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine during at a hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates Court.

Adrienne Knight, defending, said her client “messed up and would do anything to turn back the clock”.

In mitigation, she continued: “Without really realising it, it got totally out of control and out of hand at a time when he wasn’t in the best state.

“He wasn’t aware of any bigger organisation other than the fact he would get in contact with Albanians that would supply him.

“He did begin this initially to supply his own habit, his own habit got relatively out of control very quickly.”

Ms Knight said the money that was found does not relate to the selling of class A drugs, but Hardy accepts “it gets muddled."

She added that Hardy, who is now clean from drugs, is the sole carer for his son and was “terrified what might happen to his 11-year-old boy”.

In sentencing His Honour Judge Keith Cutler speaking about Hardy’s son said: “He needs you to control him. I am sure you are doing your best for him.”

Judge Cutler gave Hardy a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years. He must also complete 10 rehabilitation days and 100 hours unpaid work.