A Southampton drug dealer imported £9,000 worth of painkillers from China and sold them to family and friends.

Kane Lendon began importing pregabalin, which is used to treat conditions including epilepsy and neuropathic pain, after he was injured in a motorcycle crash.

The 36-year-old was initially given the drug for pain relief, but later decided to buy it from a Chinese website called Alibaba.

A court heard he imported pregabalin into the UK and sold some on to family and friends to make some money back.

He was also using the drug himself, taking more than the prescribed limit.

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The “business” was uncovered when police visited his home in Napier Road, Southampton.

Inside they found a number of different coloured tablets in plastic bags as well as a sealing machine, around £10,000 in cash and what was thought to be a Rolex watch.

A total of £9,000 pregabalin pills were examined and found to be worth around £1 each.

Daily Echo: Kane Lendon imported £9,000 worth of pregabalin into the UK from ChinaKane Lendon imported £9,000 worth of pregabalin into the UK from China (Image: Hampshire Constabulary)

In a prepared statement given when he was interviewed by police, Lendon said the cash was his but the other items must have come from somebody else.

He later pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug of Class C with intent to supply and evade the prohibition on the importation of a drug.

He committed the offices between January 12, 2021 and March 9, 2021.

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Prosecuting, Ellie Fargan told Southampton Crown Court that Lendon had an “expectation of a substantial financial advantage” and had been buying the pills before going on to make money from them.

She said pregabalin can be used as a substitute for heroin by drug addicts and that the offence was committed whilst he was on licence for a previous offence.

But mitigating, Keely Harvey said Lendon had been using the drugs himself and had a “false sense of security” in his offending.

“The vast majority of people buying this from him, if not all, knew him. He thought I can sell some of them and I can get some of my money back.”

She said the medication was legal in the country he was purchasing it from.

Daily Echo: Southampton Crown CourtSouthampton Crown Court

Lendon has eight convictions for 14 previous offences including a number of drug matters.

In 2015, shortly after recovering from bone cancer, he was jailed for conspiracy to supply a controlled drug of class A.

But shortly after this, what was initially thought to be a cist turned out to be cancer again.

Ms Harvey asked the judge to suspend the sentence adding that Lendon “does need long-term health help”.

Despite this, Judge Brian Forster KC jailed him for 28 months.

He said: “The defendant has put himself in a difficult position having regard to the long sentence he got on the previous occasion.

“[He] has the expensive packing machine and is in business. It is clear you were doing this to obtain substantial benefit.

“You are someone that thinks about your situation. You must have been aware of the fact that you were taking a great risk.”

An order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and paraphernalia.

A proceeds of crime hearing is set to take place on March 8, 2024.