A DRUG dealer who thought he was selling ecstasy, only to find it was a legal substance, has avoided jail.

Anthony Jackson admitted to dealing the Class A drug when he was stopped by police at Essex University’s Colchester campus.

But when forensic tests were carried out on his powder, it was found to be a substance that is legal in this country, although it is illegal in the USA.

Jackson, 20, of Alderton Road, Colchester, had been stopped by security staff at a bar and a search found packets of what was thought to be drugs.

Police were called and he was arrested. He told officers he had bought £80 of what he thought was ecstasy and had broken it down into six bags for re-sale.

He had sold two bags before he was stopped on October 27 last year, Chelmsford Crown Court heard.

Jackson admitted attempted possession and attempted supply of Class A drugs.

Recorder Judy Khan QC told Jackson it was an unusual case and had the ecstasy been real he would have been jailed for between two and four years.

Because the substance was legal, the judge ordered him to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work.