A DRUG dealer found guilty of supplying heroin and crack cocaine in Malvern is now behind bars.

Charles Beech claimed the drugs found in his van in Elgar Avenue, Malvern, were for personal use but a jury convicted him unanimously of possession of both class A drugs with intent to supply at Worcester Crown Court on Friday. Beech admitted drug driving on the day of his arrest after smoking crack.

The 54-year-old, previously of Madresfield, was searched by special constable Samuel Long on July 26 last year after he stopped his Peugeot Partner van. Beech had £80 in the pocket of his jeans. In the the van's console, under a dog's pillow, were 19 wraps of drugs - 14 of crack cocaine (1.63g with an estimated value of between £140 and £280) and five of heroin (366 milligrammes with an estimated value of around £50). Beech had a previous conviction for supplying a controlled drug from 1984.

Charles Hamer, defending, said the evidence suggested Beech was supplying the drugs to a small number of friends and associates. He said his client was homeless and had been sleeping in a hedge but had a sense of humour, mentioning to him that he had 'brought a toothbrush' in case the jury delivered a guilty verdict.

Judge Nicholas Cartwright said the Beech was a delivery driver for someone called Miller, also known as Mills, who Beech had described as 'a big man' with reference to drugs.

He said: "You are obviously supplying crack cocaine and heroin as a delivery driver for somebody else. The reward you were getting was in the form of drugs to feed your own habit."

The judge jailed him for 30 months. He banned him from driving for 12 months, extended by 15 months so the ban can begin when Beech is released from prison on licence at the halfway point of his jail sentence.