A DRUG dealer who bought £13,000 worth of luxury clothes made by top designers like Louis Vuitton has escaped going straight to jail.

Liam Mantell, 22, from Oakdale, near Blackwood, was caught with nearly 600g of cannabis when police raided his home.

Prosecutor Nuhu Gobir told Cardiff Crown Court how the defendant had used his drug profits to splash out on designer clothes.

Mantell’s barrister Andrew Taylor said his client seemed more “Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles than Sirhowy Valley” with Louis Vuitton as one of the defendant’s favourite fashion houses.


Mr Taylor told the court: “All the goods were for him. He had a fixation for expensive designer trainers and wanted designer goods at the top end.”

Mr Gobir said Mantell was busted by police last November after an earlier raid in neighbouring Trinant had implicated him in the supply of cannabis.

The prosecutor told how officers found 586.1g of the class B drug with a potential street value of £4,360 at the defendant’s Oakdale address.

They also came across designer clothes, trainers, a watch and handbag worth a total of £13,551 as well as £1,395 in cash.

Mantell, of Brynhoward Terrace, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply, supplying cannabis, possession of criminal property and money laundering.

The offences were committed between April and November 2019.

Mantell was a man of previous good character with no convictions recorded against him.

Mr Taylor told the judge, Recorder Dyfed Thomas, his client was a carer for his mother and sisters and how the family had money worries.

He said: “There was very little sophistication and pre-planning in his offending and it did not involve a gang in an enterprise.

“The only pleasure he had was having these goods. He didn’t drink or go out or go on luxury holidays.

“His mother was tens of thousands of pounds in debt and he thought he could assist.”

Recorder Thomas jailed Mantell for nine months, suspended for 18 months.

He ordered the defendant to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and complete a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

The defendant is due to face Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings in March.