A CONVICTED heroin dealer who offered free drugs to an undercover police officer if she could find him new customers is starting a long prison sentence.

Sheldon Lewis, 23, of Lucas Street, Newport, was caught as a result of a sting covert operation which was being run in the city by Gwent Police.

The defendant used a 17-year-old runner and was directly marketing drugs to up to 70 people, prosecutor Gareth James said.

Lewis had already served a two-year custodial sentence for trafficking heroin when he was arrested in Newport in June, the city’s crown court heard.


He was caught as a result of Operation Solar, which targeted dealers supplying class A drugs towards the end of 2019 and start of 2020.

Mr James said: “An undercover officer called ‘Nat’ was offered free heroin if she introduced new clients.”

Lewis admitted three counts of supplying heroin and one count each of being concerned in the supply of heroin and being concerned in offering to supply heroin.

The offences were committed between September 2019 and February this year.

The court was told how Lewis also has previous conviction for having a mobile phone in prison.

He also committed his latest offences while being subject to a suspended jail sentence for dangerous driving.

Gareth Williams, mitigating, said: “The defendant is realistic about his prospects today. There has been no application for a pre-sentence report.

“A sentence of custody is inevitable.

Mr Williams added: “There was a financial gain but there was no lavish lifestyle. He was homeless at the time.

“He was at the bottom rung. He has not had the best start in life.”

Lewis was struggling with his own drug addiction at the time.

Judge Richard Williams told the defendant: “These offences are so serious that only a term of immediate custody can be justified.

“This was a small, typical street level operation. “You were marketing drugs for up to 70 potential users.

“These offences are also aggravated by your previous convictions.”

Lewis was jailed for four years and ordered to pay a victim surcharge upon his release from prison.