A HAMPSHIRE footballer was caught with more than £10,000 of cannabis after police noticed him being “impatient” at a set of traffic lights.

Officers pulled over Jude Nwachukwu’s Dodge after he began flashing and using his horn at the lights, which were stuck on red.

When they searched the vehicle, and later his home, they found a large supply of cannabis and more than £8,000 in cash.

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Nwachukwu, who has played for Wessex League side Brockenhurst FC since 2015, narrowly avoided a jail term after admitting to dealing cannabis.

Southampton Crown Court heard how the 25-year-old was first spotted by police on Romsey Road in Southampton.

Prosecuting, Jane Rowley said officers pulled over Nwachukwu's vehicle in the early hours of May 12 last year.

They reported a “strong smell” of cannabis coming from the car.

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On searching the vehicle police found a large bag, containing a number of small bags of the Class B drug.

Police also found £800 in cash.

Officers later searched his rented accommodation, on Burlington Road, Southampton, and found more cannabis.

The total amount seized had a street value of just over £10,000, Ms Rowley said.

Police also found a safe box, containing more than £8,000 in cash, as well an “extensive” list of drug paraphernalia, such as scales, deal bags and cannabis stems.

A number of mobile phones, containing what were described as “drug dealing” texts, were also discovered.

Nwachukwu pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a Class B drug with intent to supply during a previous hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

In mitigation, Richard Elliott said Nwachukwu had been a successful student growing up, achieving 10 GCSEs and his A-levels.

He later enrolled on a business management course at Southampton Solent University.

But in the second year of his three-year course, his mother fell ill and he would travel back and forward to his family home in West Sussex in order to care for her.

Mr Elliott said Nwachukwu was forced to re-take his second year, before failing his third and final year.

He added that Nwachukwu had worked as sports model and in mental health support during his time at university and eventually wanted to launch a healthcare service – something his mother had already began work on before her death.

In sentencing, Judge Christopher Parker QC told Nwachukwu had come “within a whisker” of being sent to prison.

He said: “I don’t know if you really understand how close you were to trashing your life.

“You escaped prison by the thinnest of possible whiskers here.

“You’ve been given a chance, so take it.”

Nwachukwu was given a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, as well as 280 hours of unpaid work and 16 hours of rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Parker added: “If you commit an offence at all in the next two years you will come back to this court and you will come back in front of me.

“I shan’t forget you and you will be sent to prison.”