A RAPPER who is trying to “preach positiveness” has avoided jail for his part in county lines drug dealing in Winchester.

Theo Beckford, 22, who is known as “Frosty”, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court last Thursday for selling cocaine and diamorphine in the city between August 1 and September 12 2018.

Prosecutor Tom Wilkins told the court that officers on patrol spotted a transaction that they considered to be a drug deal. They followed Beckford to an address in Nelson Road, Highcliffe.

Mr Wilkins said officers knew there was a woman who had a diagnosis of autism and unstable personality disorder living in the flat and decided to knock the door but received no reply.

“Eventually they heard the voice of the young woman inside saying if they were police, she wasn’t letting them in,” he continued.

The door was then broken down and a phone was found on Beckford, which showed the device moving between London and Winchester, with texts sent to around 60 users marketing that drugs were available.

Around 12 wraps of cocaine worth £240 and seven wraps of diamorphine priced at £70 were found, along with £1,892.95 cash.

Mr Wilkins added: “When they had the opportunity to speak to the woman it became clear she had drugs about her person. They had been secreted there at the behest of this defendant. It is the Crown’s case that this is ‘cuckooing’.”

The court was told that the woman’s address was being used as a crack house and proceedings against her were discontinued after it was deemed that there was no realistic possibility of conviction.

Beckford, of Mantlet Close, Streatham, south London, had admitted supplying class A drugs at an earlier hearing at Basingstoke Magistrates Court.

Mitigating, barrister Roy Headlam said that his client had been “groomed from a very early age” and was being “bounced around” to sell drugs.

Beckford was released from prison in September 2019 having been jailed for 32 months for drug dealing in Guildford.

“He is a totally different person. It would be a disaster, it wouldn’t be just to send Mr Beckford back to prison and effectively to lose what he has achieved,” Mr Headlam said.

Speaking of Beckford’s music, Mr Headlam added: “He is a success, he has just signed a contract with Sony Music, he is on the verge of breaking though to mainstream.

“Through his music he appeals of a large number of young people. He is sending a message. He is an ambassador – he is trying to preach positiveness.”

Judge William Mousley QC handed down a two-year jail sentence suspended for two years. Beckford must do 240 hours unpaid work and pay court costs of £360.