A FORMER pub chef who imported thousands of pounds worth of drugs, some of which he sold to friends, has been given a suspended sentence.

Richard Blong told a court he was inspired by a TV programme about the dark web to go online and buy his cannabis from Canada.

But after hearing the 27-year-old had stopped using drugs, which he took to tackle his mental health problems, a judge imposed a suspended sentence.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Border Agency staff intercepted packages addressed to his Warwick Close home in Chippenham.

In the first one she said they found 140g of cannabis sent across the Atlantic, with another 300g in the second parcel.

Police went to his home and found more cannabis, along with money and other drugs paraphernalia.

When he was questioned he told officers that he had seen a TV programme about the dark web and set his computer up to access the Dream Market.

He said that he had spent about £2,000 on getting cannabis sent to him from Canada, making payment with online currency Bitcoin.

"He was asked about the scales and zip lock bags and he said he would supply to a couple of local friends," she said.

"He would bag it up and deliver it to them. He would some times sell small bags for £10-£20 and sometimes larger ones for £100."

Blong said that he had suffered from depression and found that cannabis was the only way of feeling better.

She said he denied making a fortuned from the dealing, only selling about half of what he bought.

Blong, who is now living in Gravesend, Kent, pleaded guilty possessing cannabis with intent to supply and importation of the drug.

Peter Binder, defending, said his client had a long history of mental health issues but had co-operated with the police after his arrest, and had since stopped using cannabis.

The court heard Blong had bought drugs from dealers on the streets of Chippenham but found their cannabis of low quality. Because of his mental health issues he had lost his job as a chef in a pub and moved back to his mum's.

Passing sentence Recorder Alastair Malcolm QC said "Importing drugs is a serious offence and you imported quite a large quantity. You have also been dealing in cannabis.

"This is the first time you have been before the court. I have taken the view it is not necessary to send you directly to prison today."

He imposed a nine-month jail term suspended for two years with 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.