A DRUG dealer – who acted as the “shopkeeper” of a heroin and cocaine ring worth almost £20,000 – has been jailed for six years.
Paul Boaler sold parcels of the class A drug heroin to other street dealers from the street where he lives in Hartlepool.
The 35-year-old was paid to keep a watch on the drugs stash which was kept in a safe inside an oven in the house over the road from where he lives in Stephen Street.
But when police swooped on his property and discovered a wallet containing £1,220, four mobile phones, drug-cutting agent bicarbonate of soda, and bunch of keys which opened the back door of the house over the road.
Prosecuting, Harry Hadfield said: “When police went into the house over the road they found, hidden inside an oven, a safe, and inside the safe there were 1,645 individual street deals of heroin and 154-and-a-half street deals of cocaine.
“The total value would be worth £19,617 on the streets.”
Around 14 of the defendant’s fingerprints were found on the packaging, and there were also incriminating mobile phone messages suggesting a delivery of drugs.
Mr Hadfield said that a police sergeant believed that the quality and quantity of heroin found was “associated with a dealer who would supply to street level dealers”.
Boaler pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply heroin on March 15.
Mitigating, Jim Withyman said: “He was effectively looking after and supplying quite large quantities of class A drugs. He was trusted enough to do this.”
He added: “It’s through his own misuse that he got involved in the supply chain and realises that he has to beat his addiction to avoid problems in the future.
“There’s very little more that can be said.”
On sentencing Boaler, of Stephen Street, Hartlepool, to six years imprisonment, Judge Howard Crowson described him as “the shopkeeper” of the operation, and added: “You have not jumped in at the bottom of the scale I’m afraid.
“This level of class A drugs demonstrates that you were not low level and have been trusted by somebody.
“You were trusted to look after it and deal with it in large amounts relative to people selling it on the streets.
“You were in the level and the chain over people who were street dealing.
“I do take the view that this is a significant role.”