A cuckoo drug dealer who set up shop in an addict’s home in Barnstaple has been jailed for five years.

Fahad Issa worked with a London based County Lines gang for a year and took photographs of wads of cash which he sent to friends with the caption ‘I’ve been doing bits’.

One photo showed a man with a large amount of cash but with his face obscured by an emoji.

Issa was caught selling drugs in North Devon in June last year but carried on dealing after being released under investigation by the police.

He was arrested again five months later at Victoria Station in London carrying £2,700 worth of heroin and crack. Police seized his phone and found photos of him flashing the cash.

Issa, aged 25, from London, admitted three counts of possession of heroin or cocaine with intent to supply and one of having a knife in a public place.

He was jailed for a total of five years by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court.

The judge told him: “This court is very familiar with people involved in County Lines drug dealing boasting about what they are doing in ‘hey, look at me’ photographs.

“In this case there is proof positive that you were trusted with cash in the message on your phone which said ‘I’ve been doing bits’.

“You took part in this enterprise for a considerable period of time, whether to pay off debts or to earn money to fund your own habit. You obtained substantial benefits.”

Hollie Gilbery, prosecuting, said Issa was first arrested for having a flick knife in London in April 2019 and then found in Barnstaple two months later.

He and another suspected dealer were staying at the home of a known drug user and were thought to be cuckooing, using the house as a base in return for free drugs.

Issa had 19 wraps of heroin and 14 of crack cocaine with a combined street value of £330 and the other man had drugs worth £1,500.

Issa was arrested again as he was boarding a train at Victoria Station on November 7, 2019. He had £2,700 worth of heroin, cocaine and a cutting agent.

Police seized his phone and found images of banknotes and a message to a friend.

Verity Fowler, defending, said Issa had been forced into working for a County Lines gang to pay off a debt and to fund a £60 a day crack habit. He agreed to do so after threats were made to him and his family.

He was sent around the country delivering or selling drugs and sofa surfing at addresses organised by his superiors. He had no control over the operation and did not share the profits.

She said the images on his phone were taken to show the gang leaders how much was being sent back to them rather than to boast.