A DRUG dealer who set up shop in a vulnerable user's home was caught after he returned to pick up his toothbrush from the terrified man's flat.

Crack cocaine and heroin user Christopher Smith, who suffers from foetal alcohol syndrome, had a panic alarm fitted after he was attacked by the dealer who had moved into his home.

Mr Smith had previously been slapped and his mobile telephone was stolen so he called police and had the alarm fitted at his flat in Bradley Thursfield Court, Kidderminster.

Reo Martin and Asha Henry were returning to Mr Smith's flat to collect their toothbrushes which they feared would link them via DNA to the flat when he hit the panic alarm and police arrived to arrest them.

Reo Martin, aged 22, of Staffordshire Pool Close, Birmingham, admitted assault by beating, handling stolen goods, possessing heroin and cocaine (both class A drugs) with intent to supply when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday.

Asha Henry, aged 23, of McGregor Close, Aston, Birmingham, who appeared alongside Martin, admitted assault by beating and theft.

Anna Midgley, prosecuting, said: “It’s the prosecution case that Mr Smith has been identified by the defendants as a vulnerable individual who could be pressed or bullied into allowing them to stay at his flat.”

The defendants came to stay at Mr Smith’s address on September 9 last year.

The court heard how a heated argument broke out when a friend of Mr Smith used his mobile phone to contact a drug dealer called ‘MJ’ which angered the defendants.

Miss Midgley said: “The defendants were making threats and Mr Smith was extremely fearful.”

During the incident Martin slapped Mr Smith while Henry was said to be encouraging the assault.

Both men were described as 'a threatening presence', acting with a joint purpose.

Mr Smith’s iPhone, phone charger and the box for the phone were taken and he was warned against calling police.

Despite this Mr Smith called police from a neighbour’s house and the following day a panic alarm was installed.

Miss Midgley said the defendants were arrested on September 14 when they returned to Mr Smith's flat to collect their toothbrushes.

Two mobile phones were seized from Martin which showed evidence of drug dealing between September 12 and 14 last year.

Miss Midgley said some messages were sent to a list of people, suggesting what she called ‘an established client base’.

Keys to a Vauxhall car linked to the defendants were also found parked nearby. A police search revealed a set of scales in the door pocket and the box for Mr Smith’s mobile phone.

In the glove compartment police found 61 wraps of crack cocaine worth £610 and seven wraps of heroin worth £70.

In police interview Martin replied ‘no comment’ and Henry denied any involvement.

A victim personal statement was read out. Miss Midgley said: “He said he was terrified and scared for his life and feared for his dogs, also present in his home.”

Mr Smith had a panic alarm, a fire proof letter box and extra locks fitted, became scared to answer his door and only slept for two hours a night.

Rebecca Wade, for Henry, invited the judge to look on her client’s life with ‘pity and empathy’.

She said: “Throughout his childhood both parents were in and out of a custodial setting.”

His first conviction came at 13 when he carried a knife into school because he was being bullied.

He was released from a 32 month prison sentence in October 2013 and since that date had limited offending.

She also stressed that he had already spent five months in custody on remand for these offences, the equivalent of a 10 month prison sentence.

David Iles, for Martin, asked his client be given a third discount in the length of his sentence to reflect his early guilty plea.

He said: "He takes his inevitable custodial term of imprisonment very much on the chin. His record can hardly be described as extensive.

"He's going to miss the birth of his first child a few months hence."

Judge Robert Juckes QC said: "It's classic street dealing, aggravated by taking over someone's house for the purpose."

He added: "I say it again and again in these courts -the reason long sentences follow from convictions for dealing class A drugs is because of the damage such drugs do.

"Quite apart from the immediate physical damage to users in the long term they also result in people who can't afford the drugs being driven to crime to get the money to pay for the drugs.

"Mr Smith, in spite of his vulnerability, had the courage to report matters to the police."

He jailed Martin for 40 months and Henry for five months.

Because of time served on remand Henry was released immediately.