A MAN who went to sell Ecstasy tablets in an Accrington pub has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Mark Duff, 34, pushed the 26 bagged tablets down the front of a woman's trousers before police approached him in the Arcade Bar, Burnley Crown Court heard.
Passing sentence, Recorder Anthony McLoughlin told the defendant that everybody was aware of the potential fatal consequences of Ecstasy and Duff could have been facing four or five years behind bars.
The judge said Duff, who was "lightly convicted", had gone into the bar alone, not intending to meet anybody, and it must be concluded he intended to supply the drugs to people he did not know.
Duff, of Plantation Street, Accrington, had earlier been convicted by a jury of possessing Ecstasy with intent to supply.
Joanna Rodrikis, prosecuting, told the court that last November police were alerted by door staff at the Arcade Bar, who believed somebody was drug-dealing.
Officers went towards the defendant and he put something down the trousers of the woman standing next to him.
The woman told police she had a conversation with Duff. She said he had then grabbed her and put something in the top of her trousers before door staff led him away.
Officers found a Perspex bag containing 26 tablets, which would sell for about £2 to £3 each individually but less in bulk.
The defendant told police the door staff had grabbed him for no reason and he denied any involvement in dealing. He claimed he had simply been standing at the bar.
David Temkin, defending, said Duff knew the court would have custody in mind. He had never been to prison before and it would have a devastating effect on him. The proceedings had opened his eyes to the seriousness of involvement with Ecstasy.
The offence was at the lower end of the scale of dealing and the defendant did not have the trappings of commercial supply. Jail would bring him into contact with people far more criminally sophisticated.
Duff had been saving up to buy a house with his wife. He worked in machining and had been offered permanent employment in Padiham.
Mr Temkin urged the court to pass a community punishment order, saying it would take away the defendant's free time at weekends.
He added if Duff had to go to custody, the sentence could be one that made him a short-term rather than a long-term prisoner.