A COCAINE dealer’s criminal activities netted him £11,815 before police caught up with him, York Crown Court heard.

Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, said Ben Fairburn had a total of £3,595 in cash on him, in his car and in his house. He also had an expensive watch, a small quantity of cocaine and a list of drug debtors at his home near the city centre. Checks with Inland Revenue and the Department of Work and Pensions revealed he did not have a legitimate income that could fund the Audi he was driving when stopped, nor the watch at his home.

Damien Morrison, defending, said he raised money for his cocaine use by supplying the drug to a “close network of friends”.

“He accepts he did benefit from the social supply of cocaine to his friends,” said Mr Morrison.

Fairburn, 25, of Ramsey House, St John’s Walk, York, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and two charges of concealing criminal proceeds, one by buying the watch and one by buying the Audi.

He was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years on condition he does 150 hours’ unpaid work.

The prosecution estimate his crimes brought him benefits that totalled £11,815 and hope to persuade a judge later this month to confiscate all his realisable assets up to that amount, including the car and watch.

Recorder Martin Bethel QC told him: “You have come as near as anyone possibly can to a sentence of immediate custody today.”

Mr Morrison said Fairburn had been diagnosed as having Crohn’s disease in August 2011 and as a result had spent seven weeks in hospital and had one operation, and may have a second operation in the future.

He was currently working as a window cleaner, but hoped to resume his career as a scaffolder.

Since his arrest in December 2011, he had kept out of trouble.