A SOUTHAMPTON man, jailed for two years for supplying heroin to an undercover police officer, had been used by a gang to do their dirty work for them, said a judge.

Matthew Burgess was arrested after supplying drugs to the officer deployed in a crackdown on drug networks operating in the city as part of an intelligence- led operation.

Prosecutor Gavin Sumpter told the city Crown Court how in a week the officer made three test purchases of heroin from Burgess operating as a runner for the AZ network.

He later told police he had lost his methadone prescription and he was given heroin in lieu of payment.

Burgess, 39, of Southampton Street, Southampton, admitted three supply charges.

In mitigation for Burgess, who had 21 previous convictions, Berenice Mulvaney said that he had suffered from a long-standing addiction and all his offending was related to it. He was now tackling his habit with a drug rehabilitation team.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Henry told him: “I accept you were put under pressure to supply drugs but you funded your addiction in that way.

“People must realise that if they fall into that temptation, they are making the work of gangs easier and the supply of drugs on to the streets easier.”