A REPEAT drug dealer has been handed another lengthy sentence after police saw him peddling cocaine through the front window of his Carlisle home.

Stephen Irwin, now aged 37, was handed a six-year jail term at the city’s crown court today (Monday). A judge heard it was his fourth conviction for similar offending which triggered a mandatory minimum sentence because of its severity.

The facts of his latest offending were outlined by prosecutor Kim Whittlestone.

Irwin had admitted a charge of cocaine possession with intent to supply at a previous court hearing.

Police attended his address at Croft Terrace in Carlisle at around 11pm on Friday, January 26. “After plain-clothed officers witnessed a suspected drugs deal,” explained Miss Whittlestone.

“The officers had observed items being passed through the front window of the address to a female who was stopped, searched nearby and found in possession of a wrap of white powder, which she stated was cocaine.

“Entry was forced and the defendant Irwin was located inside the upstairs bedroom in the act of emptying a quantity of white powder out of the bedroom window.

“A quantity of wraps and white powder were recovered from the street below.”

Various mobile phones, which Miss Whittlestone said “appeared very active”, were located and seized along with bicarbonate of soda and scales covered with white powder.

Irwin was in possession of £562.58 in cash with the total amount of cocaine recovered weighing in at 47.6g.

“It is not possible to establish what quantity might have been disposed of,” said the prosecutor. “On arrival at the police station, following arrest, Irwin asked if the police had ‘found everything’ and went on to say that he was ‘a four striker’.”

This meant he had three previous drug supply convictions, and was facing a minimum prison sentence of seven years for a fourth, similar offence.

Defence barrister Andrew Evans gave mitigation on behalf of Irwin. “He dealt to find his own habit on multiple occasions,” said Mr Evans of the criminal conduct.

A third-strike dealing conviction was relatively rare, said the barrister, and a fourth strike rarer still.

Offending had occurred against the backdrop of long-term class A drug addiction, and Mr Evans repeated: “This is no more than selling to fund his habit.”

Irwin was given a reduction in his sentence to reflect the guilty plea, and received a six-year term.

Judge Nicholas Barker told him: “What you will understand is: if you come out of prison next time and you continue with this way of life, these prison sentences are going to get longer and longer, and you will spend your life in prison.”