‘Police watched £45k drugs deal’ – trial begins for five Hartlepool men

Court News
Court News

NINE members of an alleged drug dealing network have gone on trial.

Five men from Hartlepool are accused of being involved in distributing large quantities of cocaine from Merseyside.

Three men from Sunderland, who are accused of being part of the onward supply chain of the drugs, and a man from Liverpool also face the same charges at Teesside Crown Court.

Barrister Adrian Dent, prosecuting, told the jury: “There is circumstantial evidence which the prosecution say will allow you to come to the conclusion that the defendants were each fulfilling different roles in the alleged conspiracy.”

The trial resumed today after a new jury was sworn in following legal technicalities with the previous panel.

The jury was told Peter Murphy, 61, an alleged trusted courier from Liverpool, and David Gallagher, 54, and David Haggan, 42, from Hartlepool, were arrested on March 20, 2013, when an alleged £45,000 cocaine deal took place in Hartlepool.

Undercover police watched Murphy and a woman meet up with Haggan after Haggan was dropped off by Gallagher at Tees Bay retail park.

It alleged Gallagher left to test the purity of a two kilo consignment of cocaine in a transformer box brought to Hartlepool by Murphy.

It is then alleged the three men went to a house in Blairgowrie Grove where money for the drugs changed hands.

Murphy was putting the yellow transformer box into the boot of his Astra car when police moved in.

It was found to contain two house bricks and £44,950 in 45 bundles of notes, said prosecutor Mr Dent.

He said: “That is about the wholesale rate for a kilo of cocaine.”

The box also had traces of cocaine on it.

Mr Dent added: “It can be inferred that a substantial drugs transaction had taken place that morning involving the handing over of cocaine in return for payment of nearly £45,000.”

The court heard mobile phone records led police to several more alleged drug dealers, including Neil Jackson, 42, and his dad Michael Jackson, 62, and Lee Haggan, 37, in Hartlepool.

Sunderland men Kirk Maddison, 31, of Gill Terrace; Paul Lawton, 51, of Dellfield Drive; and Robert Stevens, 57, of Hylton Road, all Sunderland, deny conspiring to supply class A drugs between January and March, 2013.

Mr Dent said about £22,000 was found in Maddison’s house, some of it in rolled bundles similar to the money seized in Hartlepool.

Maddison claimed the money was from an inheritance, and from selling cars.

Neil Jackson, 42, of Dowson Road, David Gallagher, 54, of Wharton Terrace, Lee Haggan, 37, of Campbell Road, Michael Jackson, 62, of Kilmarnock Road, David Haggan 42, of Cranwell Road, all Hartlepool, and Peter Murphy, 52, of Hirst Park Drive, Liverpool, all deny conspiracy to supply class A drugs between January and March, 2013.

Three other men, including a trafficker from Liverpool, and two Hartlepool men, have already admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine.