A SCHOOLBOY rugby star has become the second York drug dealer in a month to keep his freedom because of police and prosecution delays.

Ritesh Gurung peddled cocaine and MDMA on the streets of York in broad daylight, heard York Crown Court, sitting in Leeds. He had hundreds of pounds worth of both drugs and £771 in cash when arrested in April 2019.

But he wasn’t charged until October 2020 and made his first court appearance in December.

“He was actually caught with the drugs,” Recorder Adrian Langdale QC said.

“Although there are within the (justice) system always going to be some delays, a year and a half before sentence is not acceptable.”

He told Gurung: “I hope you understand just how close you have come to custody today and the chance this court is taking.”

Because of the delay and because Gurung had been 17 when he was drug dealing, he reduced the sentence to 18 months and suspended it for two years on condition Gurung does 20 days’ rehabilitation activities, 200 hours’ unpaid work and a 16-week curfew from 7pm to 7am.

Now 19, of Heslington Lane, York, he pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and MDMA with intent to supply them.

Elizabeth Noble, prosecuting, said police were waiting for Gurung when he cycled to a drug meet at 10.55am on April 16, 2019, near a shop in Broadway, Fulford.

He ran off as they closed in but was arrested after a chase.

He had 2.87g of Ecstasy and 7.71g of cocaine on him and at his home that was worth between £285 and £950.

Scientific tests had taken time and police didn’t send a file to the CPS until 2020, said the barrister.

Defence barrister Andrew Semple said he was an excellent rugby player who had progressed from cannabis smoking to taking hard drugs.

He had come under pressure to sell drugs for others. At the time of his arrest he had been naïve and immature.

Since April 2019, he had not committed any more offences and his family were helping him lead a law-abiding life.

Last month drug dealer Nicholas Charles Holman, 21, of Harrogate, who was arrested in York with drugs on him in 2018 and 2019 was given a two- year prison sentence suspended for two years.