A DRUG dealer told a court that he turned to selling heroin and cocaine in order to help pay legal costs in a bid to get access to his children.

Christopher Wolfendale and his accomplice Andrew Middleton were caught when police stopped an Audi on Thicketford Road, Bolton, on May 9 last year.

Andrew Mackintosh, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court how 31-year-old Wolfendale was driving and Middleton, aged 43, was a passenger.

"The officers found in a bag, between Mr Middleton's feet, a large quantity of drugs," said Mr Mackintosh.

Police then searched the pair's homes where they found more drugs, amounting to a total of 48.36g of cocaine and 77.76g of heroin.

In a wardrobe at Wolfendale's home they found 49 wraps of heroin plus two other packets and a bag of cocaine.

Hidden in a sock at Middleton's home were 43 wraps of cocaine and £442 in cash. The haul of drugs was worth up to £6,671.

Wolfendale, of Langholm Drive, Breightmet and Middleton, of Russell Street, Bolton, each pleaded guilty to possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply.

Judge Graeme Smith heard that both men had previous convictions for drug dealing.

Colin Buckle, defending Wolfendale, stressed that it had taken more than a year to charge the defendants and bring them to court.

He added that, as a result, Wolfendale had lost his job and been unable to see his two children.

Mr Buckle said that Wolfendale turned to dealing after the break up of a relationship with his partner.

"He says the money he was earning was effectively going on family law proceedings," said Mr Buckle.

"The whole situation caused him effectively to have no money to pay rent.

"There came a position, on one occasion, where he was offered this illegitimate work and he took it. It was a horrendous error."

Richard English, for Middleton, said he has been a drug addict since the age of 20.

"He regards himself as having reached the bottom. He is desperate to get clean," he said.

Wolfendale was jailed for three years and Middleton for two years and eight months.

Judge Smith stated that he had given them credit for their guilty pleas and the delay in bringing them to court.

"There is undoubtedly some delay in this case. I am entitled to take account of that," he said.

Judge Smith told the defendants: "The problems in society caused by the supply of drugs are well known.

"Both of you were well aware of the potential consequences if you were found to be supplying drugs."