Drug runners and small-time dealers caught with £200 worth of cocaine could escape jail under new rules published today.
The sentencing guidelines allow lower level dealers to dodge a prison term – even if they are found with five 'wraps' of cocaine or heroin, or 20 ecstasy tablets.
Instead, they could be given a community sentence if they showed they had a 'lesser role' in the deal and were not making much money.
Dealers could also avoid jail if the court believed they were 'vulnerable' or were dealing only because they had been threatened by more senior gangsters.
The guidelines come into force next month and are likely to raise concerns that drug offences will not be punished severely enough. Read More