A COMPUTER expert who imported large amounts of cannabis illegally from Canada has avoided jail today - even though he supplied some of the drug to others.

Luke Goscombe, an IT technical support worker, of Tyning Crescent, Slimbridge, admitted smuggling cannabis into the UK and being concerned in the supply of the drug.

He was sentenced to 18 months jail, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Caighli Taylor told the court that on August 25 last year, the UK Border agency intercepted a parcel from Canada which was addressed to Goscombe and found it contained approximately 140grams of flowering cannabis worth £1,140.

On September 19, a similar parcel was intercepted, which had £1,170 worth of cannabis in it.

As a result of the two findings, Goscombe's home was raided and searched on November 10 last year.

Police found a cannabis plant, 6.6 grams of cannabis, ziplock bags and digital scales.

Goscombe made a statement saying he was a casual user of cannabis and it was all for his own personal use. Asked about the two intercepted packages he made no comment.

His mobile phone was examined and it was revealed he had placed the orders to Canada via the 'dark web.'

"Texts indicated he was supplying cannabis to others," said the prosecutor. 

She quoted texts in which Goscombe was telling people parcels had arrived. There were also messages saying parcels had gone missing and talking about Customs 'cracking down' on such packages.

Ms Taylor referred to texts with a man called George who arranged to buy cannabis from Goscombe - as much as four ounces costing £600 at a time.

Goscombe had no previous convictions, Ms Taylor added.

David Mitchell, defending, said: "He was a regular cannabis user and he acknowledges it had become a problem for him. Initially he was doing this to get cannabis for himself at a much reduced cost.

"He now acknowledges that flouting the law in this way is not acceptable."

Goscombe's job as an IT technical support worker was still open to him although his employers were 'disappointed' by his behaviour, Mr Mitchell added.

Goscombe had been their 'apprentice of the year' in 2016, he said.

Judge Michael Harington said he had taken 'glowing' references from Goscombe's employer into account in deciding not to jail him.

"But you must understand that this sort of offending is extremely serious and will more often than not attract an immediate custodial sentence," the judge warned.