A BRIGHT student who “fell in with the wrong crowd” and started trafficking crack cocaine after losing his job was locked up after police caught him red-handed.

“Prolific dealer” Ellis Driscoll, 19, was arrested in Newport when plain-clothed officers saw him peddling the class A drug in the middle of the day.

Christopher Evans, prosecuting, told Cardiff Crown Court how the teenager was street dealing around the Wharf Road area with another unknown man.

Police chased the pair and caught Driscoll at around 4.15pm on Thursday, May 2, but the other suspect managed to escape.

The defendant was found with six white rocks which turned out to be £140 worth of crack cocaine, £300 in cash and a phone.

Mr Evans said this Nokia mobile “had 200 messages indicative of drug dealing”.

The judge, Recorder Peter Rouch QC, heard how police seized a further £500 in a later search of Driscoll’s home in Newport’s Marlborough Road.

The defendant pleaded guilty to possessing crack cocaine with intent to supply, possessing criminal property and possessing cannabis.

Mr Evans told the court how Driscoll had previously served time in custody for another drug trafficking offence.

He was convicted of possessing cannabis with intent to supply in 2017.

Julia Cox, mitigating, said her client was an intelligent man from a “very good background” who had obtained “high grades”, including an A* in English.

The court was not told at what level this was achieved.

Miss Cox said Driscoll had started working away from Newport in the construction business.

She told how when he came back to the city: “He would fall in with friends and peers who were bad influences.

“When he lost his job, he turned to supplying drugs to obtain money.”

She added: “He is not a cocaine user but has difficulties with cannabis.”

Calling him a “prolific dealer”, the judge said: “You knew what you were getting into dealing crack cocaine. Along with heroin, it is the most serious type of drug.”

Driscoll was sent to a young offender institution for two years and nine months.

He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge upon his release from custody.