A BALLYMENA man who was "dabbling" in the supply of cannabis has avoided jail.
Stephen Hamilton (21), of Camberwell Way, was sentenced at the town's Magistrates Court (main picture) for supplying cannabis; offering to supply cannabis and possession of the Class B drug.
A prosecutor said on the afternoon of February 7 last year police stopped the defendant at Parkway in Ballymena and commenced a search.
However, he ran off towards Market Road and into Devenagh Way.
Police followed and saw him discard a plastic tube which contained 5.5 grammes of herbal cannabis worth "£55" and also £100 in cash.
The defendant's phone indicated "heavy traffic" in relation to drugs supply.
The defendant told police he supplied "small amounts" of cannabis to "feed his habit" and to buy "essentials" like food.
Defence barrister Michael Smyth said Hamilton "seemed to ahve been dabbling into the world of supplying cannabis".
He said there were 113 messages "relevant to the investigation".
The lawyer said Hamilton seemed to be involved at a "very low level and certainly not at any kind of substantial, commercial, level".
District Judge Nigel Broderick told the defendant people "normally" go to prison for such offences but given his "relatively young age" and the contents of a pre-sentence report he said he would give him a "chance".
Hamilton was ordered to do 100 hours Community Service and was also put on Probation for a year.
The judge ordered the £100 cash to be forfeited and given to a drugs charity.