AN ELECTRICIAN doing contract work discovered a dealer's cache of enough drugs to fetch up to £15,190 in street sales, York Crown Court heard.

Carl Harvey, 25, had hidden the packets of ketamine and some of his profits in a false ceiling in the building where he was then living, said Lucy Brown, prosecuting.

But when contractors were hired to do some work on the three-storey commercial and residential block, one of them saw the bag of drugs and cash as he was working on an electric fitting.

The drugs were worth between £13,020 and £15,190 in street deals and could have netted Harvey £10,000 in profits, she said.

Harvey's barrister Christopher Machin said during the 2020 lockdown, his friends had called round at his flat regularly basis to take ketamine and drink alcohol.

"As a result of extended ketamine use, he is suffering from bladder problems," said the defence barrister. "He is facing the physical outcome of his behaviour."

After reading a pre-sentence report on Harvey, Judge Simon Hickey said he lacked maturity.

"This may explain why you got yourself involved in such serious offending," he said.

"I am throwing you a lifeline. Take it and all will be well. You will put your drug use behind you."

He passed a 19-month prison sentence suspended for two years on condition Harvey does 20 days' rehabilitative activities and 180 hours' unpaid work. He must also pay £600 prosecution costs.

Harvey, now of Aspin Park Road, Knaresborough, pleaded guilty to possessing ketamine, a Class B drug, with intent to supply it to others, and possessing cash gained through criminal activity.

He had no previous convictions.

Ketamine is widely used by vets as an anaesthetic drug for animals. In humans, its side effects can include kidney failure and liver problems as well as bladder problems.

Ms Brown said Harvey was living on the top floor of Regents House on Alberts Road, Harrogate in June 2020 when estate agents contracted electricians to carry out work at the property. Its lower floors house shops and offices.

The electrician found a bag containing £800 in wads of £20 and £10 notes and containers with the drug inside. He reported it to the estate agents, who called in police.

When officers questioned all the block's residents "Harvey was physically shaking so much they were concerned about his welfare," said Ms Brown.

When they asked him for his phone number, he gave them his mother's.

Forensic scientists found Harvey's DNA and fingerprints on the bag and its contents and he handed himself in.

Mr Machin said Harvey had a job as a window fitter to go to if he was spared jail and his mother was standing by him.