A DRUG dealer caught with 76 wraps of heroin near York Minster has been jailed for nearly six years.

Anthony James Ferguson, 50, has a long history of peddling drugs, including selling Class A drugs in two countries, York Crown Court heard.

"I just wonder how much misery you have peddled in your life, handing out heroin," Judge Sean Morris told Ferguson. "Look at what it has done to you.

"I am told you are 50 and you look like 60.

"You are a wreck. That is what you were doing to others."

Ferguson whose last address was a hostel for the homeless in York, used two crutches to get into the dock.

His barrister Glenn Parsons said he had osteoporosis in both knees.

"His is a life pretty much wrecked by drug taking and dealing," said the barrister.

Ferguson pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to supply it to others and possession of diazepam, a Class C drug, for his own use.

He was jailed for five years and eight months.

Rob Galley, prosecuting, said a member of the public pointed out Ferguson to police when he was in Duncombe Place near to York Minster.

On him and in his rucksack, police found 76 wraps of heroin weighing together 10.42g.

They also found £300 in cash.

Since 1996, Ferguson has been jailed in the UK for supplying a Class B drug, convicted in Minorca of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply them, jailed for 78 months in the UK for dealing in heroin and after his release from that sentence, for six years for a second case of heroin dealing.

For him, Glenn Parsons said he supplied to support his drug habit.

"He realises now it has taken a heavy toll on himself and his health," he said.

Ferguson's wife of 15 years was standing by him.

The judge said jail would be harder for Ferguson than for someone of better health.