CRUEL dealers took over an addict’s home and used it as a place to sell drugs.

Police uncovered the “cuckooing” after a friend had gone to Kenneth Pratt’s home in Nelson Road, Colchester, to deliver a food parcel.

When there was no answer at the door, she went to the back and witnessed a blatant drug deal happening from the rear window.

She called the police and when they arrived, they found Pratt and two dealers - Bernardo Barbosa and Alexandre Fortado - in the living room.

A search uncovered 236 wraps of cocaine and heroin worth up to £4,700.

Checks on Pratt’s phone found he had received a text two days before the raid in July from a drug line known as AJ asking for a place to stay.

He had then replied saying: “Stay at mine, fam.”

The 43-year-old told police the text had been sent without him knowing and that the pair had arrived and then refused to leave, leaving him in fear of what they may do to him.

Carers who had been visiting him had been told to stay away.

He admitted allowing his premises to be used as a place to supply drugs and a bail offence having arrived at Chelmsford Crown Court half an hour late.

Pratt has a long-term heroin addiction and suffered a hip complaint which left him in considerable pain, for which he is awaiting an operation.

Steven Levy, mitigating, said: “He says he didn’t send the text and even if he did, there is no suggestion there he knew they were coming to sell drugs.

“He has had a drug problem for a long time.

“When they arrived, it was like putting a child in a candy store - they are going to want to eat things - and he was given a little bit to keep him going.”

Judge Timothy Walker suspended his 30-week jail sentence for 18 months and ordered he complete a drug rehabilitation programme and 40 rehabilitation days.

He is also subject to a curfew for months banning him from leaving his house between 7pm and 7am.

Judge Walker said any breaches or failure to comply with his rehabilitation course would likely mean he is sent to jail.

“It is very easy to nod and say you are ready to change, but if you do not keep up with these terms you will be back in front of me,” he said.

“In all likelihood you will be sent to prison.”

Barbosa, 21, of Webb Estate, Clapham, and Fortado, 20, of Goldhurst Terrace, London, have both admitted drug supply charges but failed to appear at court.

Judge Walker issued warrants for the arrests of both men.