A HEREFORD drug dealer who was found with almost £6,000 of ecstasy and cocaine after robbing one of his customers at knifepoint has been jailed for three years.

Joe Matthews, 19, lunged towards the victim with the “Zombie-style” knife as he stole the bike, with a judge at Worcester Crown Court saying it was one of the most frightening looking blades he had ever seen.

Prosecution barrister Jason Aris told the court on Monday that the victim had messaged Matthews on Snapchat at around 2.30am to ask to buy some cannabis.

After he had arrived at the meeting point on the bike, borrowed from his dad, Matthews pulled the knife from his waistband. He lunged towards the victim’s neck with the blade and then stole the bike.

Mr Aris said police then went to Matthews’ home in Seaton Avenue, Hereford, to arrest him after the robbery on June 9, 2020, but there they found cocaine and ecstasy, as well as the knife.

Police said the 32.2 grams of cocaine had a street value of £3,200, and the 275 grams of MDMA was worth around £2,750. Scales, four mobile phones and £160 in cash was also seized.

Giles Nelson, defending, said Matthews was brought up in poverty and was financially vulnerable, which was how he became involved in drug dealing.

He said that Matthews had never been in court before the robbery and drugs offences came to light in June 2020, but accepted that he had been dealing prior to that.

Matthews, sat in the dock wearing a grey The North Face tracksuit, was said to have expressed genuine remorse, and had since been working for his cousin’s gardening business.

His cousin told the court that Matthews had a difficult childhood, and both of his parents were alcoholics. He said Matthews also had an alcohol problem, and at one point was unable to leave the house for work without clutching a bottle of beer.

Mr Nelson said that while a lengthy custodial sentence would be “deserved”, it would be detrimental in the long run.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright accepted that Matthews was brought up in “the most appalling circumstances”, but the police had found “very significant” quantities of class A drugs at his home.

He said the Zombie-style blade was “the most terrifying looking knife” he had ever seen, and the upbringing did not excuse knifepoint robbery.

After pleading guilty to robbery and two counts of possession with intent to supply the class A drugs, on the basis that he was threatened at age 16 to start selling, Matthews was sentenced to three years in a young offenders’ institute.

The judge also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs, a deprivation order for the mobile phones, forfeiture of the cash. A victim surcharge also applies, but there was no order made for costs.