A BRANCHTON drug dealer who used job redundancy money to buy 'in bulk' has been jailed.

Jamie Peden was caught with more than £1,300 worth of cannabis and £900 in cash when police raided his home.

The 25-year-old first offender admitted he had 20 customers whom he classed as 'friends'.

But Sheriff Derek Hamilton pointed out that he was clearly selling for financial gain.

The lawman told dad-of-one Peden: "You need to know what being involved in the drugs trade brings."

Greenock Sheriff Court heard how police swooped on the house on Branchton Road as part of an intelligence-led operation on September 28 last year.

Prosecutor David Glancy said: "Of significance to the charge tendered there were working scales on the kitchen floor as a quantity of zip-lock bags.

"Two bags under the sink contained herbal material weighing 72 grams and 60 grams.

"If divided into street deal quantities the maximum that could be realised would have been £1,320.

"There was a wallet containing £900 in a drawer in the kitchen."

Defence lawyer Ellen Macdonald said: "At the time he'd been made redundant and with his redundancy he bought in bulk and was selling to friends to support his own habit.

"He is a first offender and accepts his own stupidity.

"Mr Peden is a man with a good work history and he expresses disappointment in himself.

"The background report indicates that he is a low risk of reoffending."

Sheriff Hamilton said that selling to 20 people was a 'significant operation', adding: "It's a different ball game to everyone chipping in to a joint kitty."

Ms Macdonald said: "If he goes to custody he will not just lose his job but his career.

"He is in a promoted post as a chef."

Peden was sentenced to 160 imprisonment, reduced from six months due to his guilty plea.

Sheriff Hamilton told him: "I accept that the charge is restricted to one day, but you were involved in the supply of a controlled drug for financial gain to a number of people.

"You've got to understand that results in custody."