A faulty brake light led the police to catching a Watford skunk cannabis dealer who had 100 customers.

Jon Barrett, 30, was driving his girlfriend in a Ford Fiesta when it was stopped on Blackwell Drive, Oxhey, St Albans Crown Court heard today.

Prosecutor Daniel Siong said the officers could smell cannabis and asked Barrett if he had any drugs. He told them: "I am a recreational user. I have to look after my mum."

In the boot, where the spare wheel should be, a brown bag was found. Inside was a plastic bag which contained 137 grams of skunk. When asked about it, Barrett said: "It's all for my own use mate."

A Samsung mobile phone was examined and text messages revealed the defendant had 100 customers for his drugs. The police also seized £377.70 from him.

He had been stopped at 1.30pm on July 28 and was taken to Watford Police Station. At his home in Muirfield Road, South Oxhey, the police found four cannabis grinders on a cabinet, along with deal bags. In a chest of drawers there was a second bag containing 138 grams of cannabis.

Mr Siong said the street value of the 275 grams of skunk cannabis was £2,750.

Barrett pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply. He had not been in trouble since 2005, but had six previous convictions.

Richard Storey, defending, said Barrett had been in full time work since leaving school at 16, but had left to become the carer for his disabled mother. He handed the judge a letter from his mother explaining what he does for her.

Mr Storey said he had begun dealing cannabis because he was struggling financially. "He admits it was a mistake and did not consider the consequences. He is very remorseful. He did not think it through," he said.

Judge Andrew Bright QC told Barrett: "You were involved in relatively large scale commercial dealings and supplying to a range of customers. I am taking into consideration the fact that you are the carer for your mother, if it wasn't for that you would be going straight down the stairs.

"I am passing a suspended sentence out of compassion for your mother, not for sympathy for you.

"This is your final chance. Any further offending and you will be back before me and I will be locking you up. You have been given a chance."

He passed a nine month jail sentence suspended for two years, ordered him to complete 200 hours' unpaid work within the next 12 months and abide by a four month curfew between 9.30pm and 6.30am.