A FORMER Cotswold School pupil has been jailed for five years for dealing heroin.

A jury took just 15 minutes to deliver the verdict on Jason Kelly, 32, at Gloucester Crown Court last week.

The court heard how Kelly, a painter and decorator formerly of Moore Road, Bourton on the Water, but currently between addresses, had descended into a world of drug abuse following his brother's death.

But he was seen dealing heroin as part of an undercover police operation as officers staked out a house in Trafalgar Road, Cirencester for two days in March last year.

Prosecutor Paul Cook said on both days Kelly arrived at the house at 10am and during the time police watched the house a steady steam of people visit, many of whom were known drug addicts.

He added: "On March 3, the defendant was seen to approach the house at 10.20am and was arrested. On him were found 12 cigarette papers containing wraps of heroin.

"They weighed between 0.15 and 0.22 grams - the classic deal size. The total value was between £120 and £200. Also on his person was £487.27 in cash.

"He would not have been taking the drugs there for his own use. If he was just going to use them himself he would not have been carrying that quantity."

Kelly said drugs were a way he had "sought oblivion" after the death of his brother in 1996, the break-up of a relationship in 1999 and then a car accident in 2000, which left him badly injured.

The father-of-one had left school at 15 and his skills in the building trade had been self-taught.

Defence barrister Phillip Warren said he was selling drugs to well known users and not peddling them to strangers on the street.

"His arrest has brought him up short and led to drug couselling. By September last year he was clean of drugs," he added.

Judge Jamie Tabor said Kelly should have known that anyone caught dealing would be sent to prison.

"You made a conscious decision to become a drug dealer in Class A drugs."

However, the judge added that, while he would not make any allowance for an early guilty plea, he would reduce the recommended sentence of six to seven years to just five in recognition of Kelly starting to sort his life out.

Following the sentence, DS Adrian Stratton said: "The fact that the jury in this case took just 17 minutes to find Kelly guilty should send a stark warning to dealers who still imagine that the stock defence of claiming drugs are for personal use' will get them out of trouble.

"Those who make their living from selling drugs should be under no illusions: when we catch up with you you will be going to prison for a considerable length of time."