Four Hartlepool heroin dealers locked up for five years after selling drugs to undercover police
Four heroin pedlars caught dealing to undercover police in an operation in Hartlepool have been jailed for a total of five years.
During two months they supplied numerous £10 deals to what they believed were addicts but were in fact police officers.
The investigation began after an undercover officer named ‘Kev’ obtained £10 worth of heroin from Victoria Clark, 38 in the autumn of 2019.
She gave him her phone number and over the following weeks she supplied or arranged further deals between police and herself, Karen Normanton, 43, Paul Brown, 52, and Peter Clark, 44.
Normanton carried out the most deals and also told ‘Kev’ she was going to be starting her own supply line saying she could also get hold of other hard drugs, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said: “The charges relate to the supply of a class A drug, heroin, in the Hartlepool area at a street dealing level
"The defendants supplied heroin to undercover police officers over a period of approximately eight weeks.”
A number of deals took place after the officers were directed to meet at a shopping parade in Belle Vue.
Laura Tunnicliffe, 41, handed over one £10 deal and was also found in possession of heroin and drug dealing equipment during a raid on her house.
She was spared jail after the court heard she was making good progress with her own drug rehabilitation.
The court heard all defendants were dealing to fund their own habits.
But the Judge Paul Watson, Recorder of Middlesbrough, said they had contributed towards the damage heroin does to communities which he said had reached “epidemic proportions” in the region.
He said: "There was a reason why this operation was being carried out. Heroin it’s well known, and each of you should know it better than others, destroys lives.
"It ruins families and damages communities. The fact heroin abuse has reached epidemic proportions on Teesside and the Cleveland area is well known to the public who are heartily sick and depressed of the scale of the problem.
“The court will do what it can in order to try and stamp out the problem created by those who deal in class A drugs.”
Normanton, of Hereford Street, Hartlepool, was jailed for 18 months after admitting eight counts of supply.
Stephen Constantine, mitigating, said she was preyed upon by others and did not make any money from dealing.
Husband and wife Peter and Victoria Clark, of St Annes Court, Hartlepool, each got 14 months after admitting two counts and four counts respectively of supplying a class A drug.
Brown, Dorset Street, Hartlepool, was also sentenced to 14 months prison for one count of supply.
Tunnicliffe, of Oxford Road, Hartlepool, got 14 months suspended for 18 months for one offence of supplying.
The court heard she is engaging well with drug treatment providers and has made real progress.
Judge Watson told her: “It would be a downright pity to undo all the good work.”
He said he had significantly reduced all of defendants’ sentences due to their guilty pleas, time since the offence and because they had all kept out of trouble since.