A LANDSCAPE gardener from Halesowen has been jailed for two years for drug dealing by a no-nonsense senior judge.

Cocaine dealer Alexander Heppe was visibly shocked by the custodial term handed out at Worcester Crown Court this week.

But Judge Robert Juckes QC told him: "The offence itself means that an immediate custodial sentence should, as a matter of principle, be passed."

Heppe, 28, of Kent Road, Halesowen, admitted possession of cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply as well as possession of each of those drugs.

Alec Small, prosecuting, said officers found a tin under the driver's seat of his car in Bromsgrove on March 25 last year.

Inside that tin was a parcel with two further bags containing a white powder and a third containing vegetable matter. They also found a cannabis grinder.

Officers seized 10.4g of cocaine with a street value placed at £550 and arranged into individual deal wraps. They also found 5.84g of cannabis worth £50 to £60.

Police seized Heppe’s iPhone and found references to 'cocoa' and 'cola' which Mr Small said were both 'slang for cocaine'.

Danny Smith, defending, said of Heppe: "This is not someone who is massively profiteering out of his dealing."

Mr Smith said Heppe had shown remorse and recognised the impact that dealing had, which he said 'carries through to his timely guilty plea'.

The defence counsel described Heppe's parents as 'both of poor health', his father bed-bound with cancer while his mother suffered a stroke four years ago.

Mr Smith argued that his client had a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and it was unlikely he would find himself before the criminal courts again.

But Judge Juckes jailed Heppe, telling him: "The difficulty is that we have to deal with young men like you who are in many other ways completely decent."

Judges in Worcester and Hereford have jailed four dealers for a combined total of 17 years since the beginning of this year.

Judge Juckes has previously sentenced a Worcester drugs gang to more than 75 years in prison in November 2017, including an 18-year term for the group’s leader.

The following year he jailed another city cocaine dealer and his lieutenants for more than 50 years, including a 17-year sentence for the gang’s boss.

The judge said this week: "If you get caught dealing cocaine you go to prison. It's a message this court seeks to send out through all the judges passing sentence.

"If you get caught it's a prison sentence and the intention is that it should be a deterrent."

South Worcestershire police commander Superintendent Damian Pettit welcomed the sentences.

He said: "These strong sentences are evidence that individuals convicted of drugs offences will be firmly dealt with through the court system and the public can be reassured that we are all doing what we can to protect them from many forms of harm caused by the use and dealing of these substances.

“These sentences are another example illustrating that when we catch you, you will have your freedom taken from you.”