A YOUNG drug dealer was caught selling acid and nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, NOS or balloons, aimed at music festival-goers

Father-of-one Jack Payne, 21, from Newport was branded an “idiot” by a judge for getting himself involved in the drugs trade.

Nuhu Gobir, prosecuting, said the defendant had been pulled over on the M4 near the Magor services by PC Carl Haydock and Special Constable Morgan Farmer.

The officers found hundreds of cannisters of balloons with a potential street value of nearly £3,000 inside Payne’s Ford Fiesta.

“The defendant said they were all for his personal use,” Mr Gobir told Newport Crown Court.

“He said he was addicted to them and would buy some every two weeks and he would inhale them as it gave him a buzz.”

Police also seized £1,440 cash from Payne which he claimed he had withdrawn “to buy clothes for his dad's birthday in Bristol”.

Detectives then found drug-related messages on his iPhone relating to the sale of acid, also known as LSD.

Payne, of Purcell Square, Alway, pleaded guilty to offering to supply a class A drug LSD and possessing nitrous oxide with intent to supply.

The offences were committed between June 16, 2021 and August 31, 2021.

The defendant had one previous conviction for three driving offences committed when he was a boy.

Gareth Williams representing Payne said: “These offences took place some time ago and over a short duration.

“The defendant is in full-time employment and I would submit he has completely turned his life around.

“He is sorry and regrets what he did and he’s let people down.

“The defendant has every chance of being rehabilitated.”

Judge Matthew Porter-Bryant told Payne: “It's clear that you knew what you were doing and that you were actively engaged in it.

“The limitations upon your enterprise would it seems have been consequent on your lack of stock rather than a desire on your part to limit the nature of the operation.

“However, the quantities involved do appear to be rather small relative to some of the cases this court sees.

“You behaved during 2021 frankly as an idiot. You have put an awful lot at risk.”

Payne was jailed for 23 months but that sentence was suspended for two years.

He was ordered to carry out 135 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 prosecution costs and a £156 surcharge.