A BRIERLEY Hill man who started selling cannabis to a close circle of friends to help clear his debts has avoided jail.

When police officers raided the home of Aaron Collins, aged 23, they found over 200 grammes of the controlled drug which would have been worth around £2,600 if sold in street deals.

Robert Cowley, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Crown Court they also found drug dealing paraphernalia, £490 in cash and a CS gas canister.

Collins of Harrison Court, Hawbush, admitted possessing cannabis with intent to supply, possessing a small amount of methadone and the gas canister - a prohibited weapon.

Judge Michael Challinor told Collins it was the fact he was a man of previous good character that made it possible for him to impose a non-custodial sentence.

But he warned him: "The police will be watching you from now on. If you are foolish enough to involve yourself in drug trafficking again in the future then they will catch you."

The judge also told Collins he accepted he had not been in possession of the gas canister to protect himself or his drug supply.

Collins was placed on supervision for a year, ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in the community and to pay £535 costs.

Ekwall Tiwana, for Collins, told the court his client had built up a large debt and he was trying to pay the money back.