A father-of-four claimed the astronomical cost of living in Kingston turned him to drug dealing, before he was sentenced to a year in prison for supplying cannabis.

Ali Sahami, 37, was arrested with 24 bags of skunk cannabis in Hawks Road after a resident reported a suspicious car in the street on February 2 last year.

When police searched his home in Sussex Place they found almost £10,000 in cash stashed in a shoe box and in a safe in his kitchen, Kingston Crown Court heard on Wednesday.

While on bail for the offence, Sahami was again caught with a quantity of cannabis and arrested for possession with intent to supply in October.

Sahami, who has since moved to Bolton with his family and has no previous convictions, claimed it was the cost of living that forced him into a life of crime.

He came to the UK from Iran in 1999 and lived in Dover for more than 10 years before moving to New Malden.

Defence counsel William Paynter said: “He has described it as a big mistake.

“His daughter was going to go to university in London and the family all decided to move.

“He found the cost of living in London very high, even compared to Dover also in the south east.”

Explaining why Sahami was caught drug dealing a second time, Mr Paynter added: “It is an unfortunate feature of the case.

“He is someone with very little connection with the criminal justice system.

“While this was a matter committed on bail he may not have understood as well as someone who was born and raised in Britain would.”

While passing sentence Judge Georgina Kent said: “This is a serious set of offences. Cannabis is a drug capable of having very serious mental health consequences.

“Drug dealing has a negative and detrimental effect on society.

“This case is a perfect example of that because it was a householder who saw you drug dealing.

“Only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”

Sahami had pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a class B drug with intent to supply and one count under the Proceeds of Crime Act on February 10 this year.

He was given credit for his early guilty plea and sentenced to 12 months in prison of which he will serve six.