A DRUG dealer has been jailed for more than three years after police caught him with more than £11,000 of heroin by chance.
Officers went to a house in Hartlepool to arrest another man who was wanted.
But they bumped into Daniel Keenan who they discovered was carrying heroin with a street value of £11,450 and £1,700 in cash.
Officers confronted Keenan, 27, who they saw holding something in his hands.
He put a plastic box on the table which was found to contain 229g of heroin.
Rosalind Scott-Bell, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “Officers ascertained the person wasn’t who they originally wanted, however, they saw the box that was on the table and upon looking inside, it contained nine bags of brown powder.
“Officers believed that to be heroin and then the defendant was arrested on suspicion of Class A drugs with intent to supply.”
They found the bundle of cash inside his trouser pocket.
The purity of the heroin was 14 per cent, which the court heard was slightly below what was normally seen.
When police returned to search the house in Bruntoft Avenue later that morning they found another £3,410 hidden behind a fish tank and two mobile phones.
Victoria Lamballe, mitigating, said: “Ordinarily, this level of cash and drugs is suggestive of somebody very high up the chain.
“In my submission, that’s not the defendant.
“The level of purity suggests the drugs had been diluted prior to coming into his hands and perhaps he was doing the dirty work of somebody else.”
Miss Lamballe added Keenan, of Dowson Road, Hartlepool, was living “anything but a lavish lifestyle” and his house had no electricity.
He was jailed for three and a half years after he admitted the offence.
Judge Tony Briggs said: “The inference I draw is you were a significant part of a distribution network.
“It does seem so far as you were concerned you weren’t directly connected with the final distribution network but you were quite clearly a trusted and an important part of the chain.
“That, had it been allowed to continue, would have resulted in the distribution of drugs of some £11,000 odd at street value.”