Heroin dealer jailed

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A DRUG dealer described as a significant player in the supply chain has been jailed after being caught with drugs in Hartlepool.

Heroin dealer Darren Vout, 37, was described by Cleveland Police’s drugs squad as higher up the chain than a street dealer.

Vout, who was arrested as he drove his Chevrolet car through Hartlepool, had been convicted twice before of supplying heroin in 1998 and 2006.

Prosecuting, Harry Hadfield at Teesside Crown Court said Vout has 49 convictions for 156 offences. Mr Hadfield told the judge: “The Crown say that he had a management position within the chain.”

Police stopped Vout in his car in Stockton Road, Hartlepool, on November 9 last year.

They found a carrier bag in the front footwell with two smaller bags containing 43.7 grammes of heroin worth £2,035, digital scales with traces of heroin and £796 in cash.

Vout said that the drugs were his and his home was searched and detectives found a tick list indicating what the rate was for one ounce of heroin.

They also found two other bags of heroin in one gramme deals worth £585, and a quantity of food bags.

Mr Hadfield said police stopped Vout again in the same car at 3.25pm on March 24 after he had been released on bail.

He passed £570 in notes to his father in the passenger seat, and then he reached down and picked up a bag with a Kinder egg in it.

When he was searched at the police station he had a carrier bag containing 9.33 grammes of heroin divided into six plastic bags.

Shaun Grainger, mitigating, said Vout clearly played a significant role in the drugs trade.

He added: “His record is terrible, he has been a career criminal for most of his life, mainly because he was addicted to drugs.

“But there was no expensive life style, no money, no flash cars. He has been buying and selling drugs to feed his own habit and also to make some money.

“He is not a well man. He has a bag full of tablets that he is taking to prison.”

Judge Gillian Matthews QC told Vout: “You have an appalling record which is mainly not to do with drugs, but you have eight previous convictions for drugs starting in 1998.

“You are a drug dealer,but it is not clear to me exactly what you are saying. But you were selling these drugs and you have a significant role.”

Vout, of Beechwood Avenue, Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, was jailed for 54 months after he pleaded guilty to two offences of possession of heroin with intent to supply.