A NEW Forest football club has suspended one of its players following his conviction of drug dealing.

It comes after Jude Nwachukwu, who has played for Wessex League side Brockenhurst since 2015, pleaded guilty to dealing cannabis.

The 25-year-old, who was caught with more than £10,000 of the Class B drug, was given a suspended prison sentence at Southampton Crown Court last week.

The New Forest club has since suspended Nwachukwu and issued a statement, in which officials expressed their shock at his conviction.

In the statement, a club spokesperson said: “We had no prior knowledge of the charges against Jude and we were shocked and bitterly disappointed to receive the news.

"The club takes its responsibility in the pastoral care of our players very seriously and suspended Jude within 24 hours of his conviction.”

The Echo contacted Brockenhurst FC to ask if Nwachukwu would be allowed to return to the club, but did not receive a response.

Last week, Nwachukwu appeared at crown court, where he was given a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, by Judge Christopher Parker QC.

The court heard how Nwachukwu was pulled over by police on Romsey Road, Southampton, on May 12 last year.

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

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 £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 sentencing, Judge Parker told Nwachukwu he 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.”

He 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.