A judge lamented the “terrible waste” by an ex-university student who resorted to dealing drugs for the second time.
Jay Boyd’s lawyer urged that he be spared jail as an exceptional case.
But Judge Heather Baucher said: “How can I? I can’t distinguish him because of his background or education. We have to treat everybody who comes before the court in equal fashion.
Jay Boyd was jailed for drug dealing. Picture: Kent Police
“Others have an awful background and have no role models. It has to be a substantial immediate custodial sentence. I have to do that.”
The 24-year-old former straight As history student, of Walnut Way, Southborough, admitted possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply.
Maidstone Crown Court heard he was stopped in his car on September 17 this year because he was driving too fast and was then found to have nine bags of cocaine at 68% purity worth about £300 stuffed down his underwear.
Officers also seized two bags of cannabis, £222 cash and two mobile phones which were “constantly ringing”.
Prosecutor Ahmed Hossain said a search of Boyd’s home revealed “deal” bags, scales with white powder on them and £695 cash.
“He gave a statement in which he said he was under pressure to sell drugs because of a £7-8,000 debt incurred from previous dealing,” said Mr Hossain.
“He said he was threatened. There were threats to his family. He said he was given phones and told to deal.”
But Mr Hossain added: “The prosecution say duress doesn’t feature.”
Former Tonbridge Grammar School pupil Boyd, a telecom account manager, was jailed for nine months in January last year for possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
Judge Baucher commented: “What a waste of a life.” Boyd said from the dock: “I agree.”
The judge added: “It is a terrible waste. I wish society could see this letter from his father.
This young man’s life has been wrecked by involvement with drugs. It is a tragedy - university education, passed A levels, wonderful family.”
Nathaniel Wade, defending, said: “He was somebody with real promise. He had so many options open to him. He is devastated today.
“Since he left university full of ambition he has through his own actions sought to cut himself off at the ankle. He ought to have known better. He is so very sorry.
“He is determined he will make his best efforts when released. His company was hoping to promote him. They hope he will gain employment with them again in future.”
Jailing Boyd for four years, Judge Baucher said: “It is not an easy sentencing exercise. Nobody would envy the task I have today.
“Why? Because the testimonials that speak in relation to you are powerful ones. You have a good job and are highly thought of.
"You are a young man who has a really good future if you apply yourself when you get out" - Judge Heather Baucher
“This was committed only months after your last sentence. If anyone should have realised what a short sharp shock and the clang of the prison gates do it should have been you.
“Society would say you have thrown that in their face. Dealing in class A drugs is an escalation - in short, the modus operandi of a street dealer.”
The judge added: “I would say this: You are a young man who has a really good future if you apply yourself when you get out.
“I hope this is your last appearance in court.”