A DRUGS handler has been jailed for more than five years after being spotted by police throwing a bag of heroin from a car he was travelling in with two children.
Mark Muers, 43, from Hartlepool, was locked up for five years and 219 days at Teesside Crown Court after wracking up a series of narcotics offences.
He admitted a charge of possessing heroin, a Class A drug, with intent to supply.
It was after police saw him throw the 25 gram bag of heroin out of a car in which he was travelling near Greatham on September 12.
The court heard the car was driven by a woman and there were two children in the back seat.
Muers was facing seven years’ jail as the crime was his ‘third strike’ for drugs trafficking offences.
Describing his latest offence, prosecutor Jenny Haigh said: “Police on mobile patrol saw a purple Ford Ka with four occupants.
“They saw the front seat passenger, the defendant, was not wearing his seat belt, and indicated for the car to stop.
“As it moved across the traffic lights the passenger turned round and police recognised the defendant.
“They suspected he might have drugs on him and saw a package thrown from the passenger side window.”
Police recovered the package and found it contained brown powder, which proved to be heroin.
The car stopped at the scene and Muers was arrested.
In interview he denied throwing anything out the car, but admitted the offence when the case got to court.
Muers, of Wynyard Mews, Hartlepool, has two previous convictions for possessing Class A drugs.
They include one for ecstasy and another for crack cocaine for which he was given 45 months prison in June 2005.
Paul Cleasby, mitigating, said Muers pleaded guilty at an early stage in the court proceedings and was therefore entitled to a 20 per cent discount on his sentence.
Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said: “You qualify for a minimum term of seven years. The least sentence I can pass is five years and 219 days.”
Police welcomed the sentence handed down.
Sergeant Stuart Kelly, of Hartlepool Drugs Unit, said: “We are pleased with the sentence given to Muers.
“Class A drugs blight people’s lives and will not be tolerated, we will use all powers at our disposal to bring offenders to justice.”