A DRUG dealer who involved a 15-year-old girl in his crime has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Mark Styles, prosecuting, said police stopped Rafiq Ul Hoque, 19, when they spotted him breaking a driving ban in Thanet Road, Dringhouses.

With him was a 15-year-old girl with 13.7g of cannabis split into 15 bags hidden in her clothes and a larger bag, and scales and self-sealing bags for drugs with Hoque’s fingerprints on them. Mr Styles said Hoque was intending to sell the cannabis. But police smelt the drugs and confiscated them.

Recorder Jamie Hill QC told Hoque: “She was clearly trying to hide them for you. At least you had the decency to tell the police it was nothing to do with her.”

Bookmaker’s employee Hoque, of Stonethwaite, Woodthorpe, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply to others and was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition he does 100 hours’ unpaid work. He must also pay £250 prosecution costs.

The judge said he had suspended the prison sentence because Hoque had had to wait 12 months between the discovery of the drugs on July 27, 2013, and sentence. Mr Styles said the case had been delayed while police investigated the relationship between him and the girl.

York Crown Court heard that last August, Hoque received a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months on condition he did 200 hours’ unpaid work in July 2013 for driving whilst disqualified, and that the bags of cannabis would have sold for £10 each.

For Hoque, Emma Bennett said he had had financial difficulties which he hoped to solve by selling drugs. He now had a job. He had completed the 200 hours’ punishment for the driving offence without any problem and had not offended since.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before York Youth Court earlier this summer and admitted possessing 15 bags of cannabis with intent to supply to another person. She was given a six-month referral order.

If anyone hands illegal drugs to anyone else, whether or not they paid for it, they are breaking the law.