Penthouse front for drug gang

Jarsling House, on Hartlepool Marina
Jarsling House, on Hartlepool Marina

A BUSINESSMAN and his beautician wife were at the heart of a multi-million pound drugs ring that operated out of a rented Hartlepool Marina penthouse.

When police finally swooped on the home of John and Tanya Rayner in leafy Elwick village they found £150,000 in cash stashed in their loft.

They later found three hand grenades at his business address.

A court heard how drug dealers used a penthouse flat on the Marina to buy and sell high-quality imported cocaine that could have netted them millions.

Top-level dealers paid up to £50,000 a kilo for the drug which would then be cut and sold on to smaller dealers further down the supply chain.

But after a seven-week undercover investigation – sparked by the arrest of a Tyneside drug dealer – police smashed the operation at a time when dealers had recently bought an 18 kilo shipment – at a cost of £900,000.