A COUNTY lines drug dealer caught in Banbury told police he was in town for a Tinder date.

Jordan Henry was stopped and questioned by an officer after acting suspiciously, and claimed he was just visiting a woman he had met on the dating app.

He was searched and a stash of crack cocaine and heroin was found hidden in his socks.

The 22-year-old was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday, having already pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug.

The court heard how a police officer noticed Henry approaching a known drug user, at about 10.45am on August 13, 2018.

Henry then went to a block of flats in Marshall Road, and the officer approached him while he was pressing the buzzer to ask what he was doing.

ALSO READ: Documentary exposes county's child drug runners

Henry told the officer he was in Banbury to meet a girl called Jade, who he had been chatting to on Tinder.

When police asked if he had any drugs on him, he admitted to having some in his socks.

The officer found eight wraps of crack cocaine and three wraps of heroin, with a street value of £110.

He also found more than £80 in cash and two phones – an iPhone and a burner phone, which were later found to contain messages consistent with the sale of drugs.

Prosecutor Jonathan Stone said an expert who analysed the phone found ‘all the hallmarks of a county lines drugs case’.

Henry, of Harvest Way in Nuneaton, Warwickshire,

During police interview, he told police he had been staying at ‘Jade’s’ flat – who he then referred to as Jane.

He was unable to provide an address or her last name, but said she smoked drugs and that was why he was in possession of them.

ALSO READ: Child gang culture is increasing in Oxfordshire

Defending, Jim Osborne said: “Mr Henry deeply regrets his activities. He was a young man in a desperate situation.

“His mother and he had been evicted from their home and he was effectively left to fend for himself on the streets.

“He had a prolific drug addiction and was in debt to his supplier, who recruited him…to some extent, the dealer coerced him.

“When his supplier offered to put a roof over his head and get him some money, he jumped at the chance.”

He said the supplier ‘tried to keep him [Henry] perpetually in debt’ by telling him the money he passed on was short.”

Mr Osborne said Henry had managed to get himself clean of drugs and had hopes of becoming an electrical engineer.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle said: “You know full well that those who supply drugs on the streets of this county, and indeed country, can expect an immediate prison sentence.”

He passed a sentence of three years.

Judge Ian Pringle said it was ‘concerning’ that the case had taken so long to get to court, and Mr Stone agreed that it was ‘not unusual in these cases sadly’.