£20,000 cocaine haul is seized at house

Cocaine with a potential street value of £20,000 was seized in a major police drugs swoop in Hednesford, a court heard.

£20,000 cocaine haul is seized at house

The operation included raids at two houses belonging to two local men, Stafford Crown Court heard.

At one, a house rented by Dale Gardiner in Heron Dale, officers discovered six bags of drugs in a safe hidden in a wardrobe.

Mr Nick Burn, prosecuting, said the bags contained just over 200 grammes of cocaine of high purity which could have fetched between £15,000 and £20,000 in street deals.

In a linked raid at the home of Rick Bradley, whose fingerprints were on two of the bags of cocaine, officers recovered a quantity of cash.

Bradley, aged 25, of Splash Lane, Hednesford was jailed for three years after admitting possessing drugs with intent to supply.

Gardiner, aged 26, of Queen Street, Cannock was given a two year prison sentence suspended for two years and curfewed for nine months.

He also admitted possessing drugs with intent to supply.

The court heard that Gardiner had allowed 'a friend' to store drugs at the house while he was working away.

Mr Burn said the search warrants were executed in March last year.

The cocaine in four of the bags was of 67 per cent purity, compared with the 15 or 20 per cent usually found in street deals.

The other two bags containing cocaine pellets were 57 per cent pure.

Also seized from the property in Heron Dale were three sets of scales and a bag of benzocaine - a cutting agent used to bulk out cocaine deals.

Mr Burn said: "Whatever one makes of their explanations, it was a significant seizure. Both men played a significant role."

Mr Mark Nicholls, representing Gardiner, a qualified electrician, said: "He allowed a friend to install a safe at this property where he wasn't

staying a great deal of the time, working away.

"Whereas he knew the safe was likely to contain some drugs, he certainly had no idea as to the amount.

"He had no role other than being a custodian, made no benefit he is the one ultimately left carrying the can.

"This was a major operation involving a number of other defendants. It is a huge shame that his naivety allowed a friend - if you can call him that - to store drugs at his home, it wasn't his enterprise."

Mr Ben Williams, defending, said Bradley accepted responsibility for only two of the bags of cocaine.

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