TWO drug dealers walked free from court after a judge blasted Gwent Police for the “horrendous” delay in bringing them to justice.

Daniel Whittle , 23, and Daniel Tabbott, 22, from Blaenau Gwent were handed suspended prison sentences after it took the force more than three years to get them to court.

Their offences dated back to 2020, Cardiff Crown Court was told.

Whittle was trafficking cocaine, ketamine and cannabis while Tabbott was supplying cannabis.

Recorder Greg Bull KC asked prosecutor Byron Broadstock why it had taken the police so long to charge the duo.

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He replied: “I anticipated you might ask me exactly that question your honour.

“I'm afraid I haven't had a satisfactory answer.”

The judge told him the delay was “horrendous”.

He added: “How can I punish people for offences that were committed three years ago?”

Recorder Bull said of Whittle: “He was running a drugs warehouse.”

Whittle, of Tynewydd, Nantybwch, Tredegar admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine, being concerned in the supply of ketamine and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Tabbott, of Edwards Court, Ebbw Vale pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Whittle had no previous convictions while Tabbot had a single conviction for drink driving.

Jeffrey Jones and William Bebb, representing Whittle and Tabbott respectively, said their clients were both in work.

Recorder Bull told the defendants: “Your offending came to light as result of the police stumbling across the smell of cannabis coming from the parked motor vehicle in which you were in.

“These offences took place a long time ago.

“I'm satisfied that each of you have turned your life around and I strongly urge you to continue with the progress that you have made.”

Whittle was jailed for 15 months with the sentence suspended for two years.

Tabbott was locked up for six months with the sentence also suspended for two years.

They both have to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 costs each.

Whittle has to pay a £156 surcharge and Tabbot a £128 surcharge.