A DAD who was spotted peddling cannabis to schoolboys ‘as young as 13’ in a town centre park has been jailed for 20 months.

Simon Baker was seen with the youngsters at a picnic table near the bandstand in John Coles Park, Chippenham, by an off duty cop.

The 32-year-old insisted the lads were not schoolboys, who the officer said were in uniform, but pals of his younger half-brother who were all over 18.

But after hearing evidence from the policeman and the two brothers a judge at Swindon Crown Court found against him and imposed an immediate jail term.

PC Robert Poile told the court he was in the park with his children at about 3.30pm on the afternoon of Monday, September 12, when he saw the schoolboys.

His youngsters were climbing trees, he said, when he noticed three or four lads, who he thought were aged 13 or 14, in school uniforms.

With them, he said, was an older man sitting on the ground with a bike and from their body language he felt the lads did not know him particularly well.

He told the court that Baker was 'fiddling with his hands' and continually looking at him. Then he saw one of the boys, sitting with his back to him, rolling a joint.

"It was at this point I believed he had been supplying them with the drugs," he said.

The officer stepped in, showing his warrant card and saying who he was, and Baker replied 'It's nothing to do with me, mate'.

Baker then tried to get on his mountain bike, but stumbled, so ran off on foot with the officer in pursuit, leaving the cycle behind.

As he went through the park he was seen throwing away his mobile phone, and PC Poile had to stop the chase near the park gate as he couldn’t abandon his children.

He dialled 999 and police arrested Baker on nearby Malmesbury Road, finding seven wraps of cannabis on the ground nearby.

By the time PC Poile got back to the picnic table the schoolboys had all fled.

When the phone was examined it was found to be littered with text messages relating to the trade in drugs

Giving evidence Baker said earlier that day he had ‘borrowed’ a wrap of drugs from his half-brother, Louis Hudd, and had met him in the park to repay it.

While he was there, and after his sibling had left, he was talking to some of his 18-year-old brother’s older college friends.

He said none were in school uniform and that he had only given one, called Dionne, a Rizla paper which he used to roll a joint with cannabis he already had on him.

Mr Hudd said he had met his brother in the park and was given a joint by him, not a bag of drugs, and that the others were all college friends.

He added that he saw Baker use a cigarette paper which he used to make a roll up, insisting the pal had not put cannabis in it.

Baker, of Hill Rise, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply.

Mike Pulsford, defending, said his client was a father of two young boys and was in a bad place at the time after a close bereavement, and was dealing cannabis at the time to fund his own habit.

Jailing him, Judge Tim Mousley QC told Baker: “I found your evidence to be wholly unsatisfactory. It is inconsistent, as well, with the evidence that your brother gave.

“There is a powerful inference to be drawn that you supplied the cannabis that you saw rolled in to a cannabis cigarette shortly after: accordingly I reject your explanation.”

Imposing the jail term he said: “I am satisfied that these were children.”