Cash totalling £1,500, which was spotted by police stuffed down a Bulwell man’s left sock, included proceeds from his drug dealing, a court heard.
Seymour Douglas, 26, of Bromley Close, carved out a private business in selling cannabis to friends when his career as a promising footballer with Notts County hit the rocks.
But the police caught up with him late one Thursday night in April last year when they saw him driving at excessive speed, Nottingham Crown Court was told.
“He pulled up on Highbury Road to go into a shop,” said Siward James-Moore, prosecuting. “But when he came out, the officers could smell cannabis, and he pulled a small wrap from his tracksuit bottoms.
“They then noticed that his left sock was bulging. Inside were notes amounting to £1,500.
“Two more small cannabis wraps were found inside his car, and when his home was searched, more cash, totalling £2,000, was recovered.”
Mr James-Moore said that, when interviewed, Douglas initially said the cannabis was for his own use and that the money belonged to his girlfriend for her shopping.
But two mobile phones were also seized for analysis, which revealed numerous text-messages that clearly related to the supply of cannabis.
“The contents of the messages spoke for themselves,” said Mr James-Moore. “They painted a picture of street dealing in small amounts between a group of people known to the police.
“It was a profitable activity, netting considerable quantities.”
Douglas pleaded guilty to three charges involving the possession and supply of cannabis, and also possession of criminal property, namely the cash.
His barrister, Felicity Campbell, mitigating, told the court: “This was his own operation. Most of the text messages related to £10 bags being sold to named associates. These were small amounts, street deals to friends.”
Miss Campbell accepted that some of the money found was profit from the deals, but that some represented savings made by Douglas’s girlfriend, who had worked for the House Of Fraser since she was 15.
As a youngster himself, Douglas represented the Notts County youth academy team and later played at a semi-professional level for various sides based in Nottinghamshire, the court heard.
But he had to give up after sustaining a back injury in an accident when he fell from the guttering of a building. And he turned to cannabis to help alleviate his “severe back-pain”.
Miss Campbell said the prospect of being sent to prison was “causing great anxiety within his family”, which was already plagued with problems.
His girlfriend had suffered a miscarriage, and three family members had either died of cancer or been diagnosed with the disease.
As well as a pre-sentence report, prepared by the probation service, the judge, Recorder Edward Boydell, read a letter of support from the Douglas’s mother.
“His shame is that he might not be there to support his mum,” said added Miss Campbell.
“This has been a great wake-up call. He has now stopped using cannabis entirely, and has started some part--time work as a window-cleaner.”
The judge told Douglas: “Having heard and read everything about you, it is hugely disappointing that you end up in court.
“You were a small-time dealer within a small circle of friends. But these are serious offences, and drugs cause serious harm in communities.”
Douglas was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. A community order for 12 months, during which he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community, was also imposed on him, and he was subjected to a curfew between 8 pm and 8 am for six months.