Suppliers caught passing drugs to undercover police officer during Hartlepool sting

Two people caught during a drugs crackdown by police in Hartlepool have been given a chance to stay out of trouble.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:45 am

Christopher Healey, 38, and Stuart Armstrong, 36, were arrested and charged after each helped to supply heroin deals to an undercover police officer posing as a user.

They appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Monday, October 11, but neither was sent immediately to prison.

Stephen Littlewood, prosecuting, said: “All of these drugs offences arose from Operation Neapolitan targeting dealing of class A drugs in the Hartlepool area by using undercover officers to do test purchases.”

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Cleveland Police's Operation Neapolitan target drug dealing in Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Mr Littlewood told how the officer bought £10 wraps of heroin through Healey on November 14 and 18 in 2019.

On November 19 the officer met up with Healey again and was supplied with another £10 deal an address in York Road.

Upon leaving the officer met Armstrong who he gave a lift to.

Mr Littlewood said: “During the drive Mr Armstrong indicated that the deal had been provided by him.

"He told the officer that if he ever wanted drugs he should go to the address they had just left from.”

The officer noted Armstrong had about £200 in cash on him.

He provided the policeman and two other drug users with similar deals the next day.

On November 27 Armstrong went with the officer to another address where he helped supply him with crack cocaine.

The prosecution said Healey was a user who shared drugs with others, but Armstrong played a more significant role and expected to make money.

Healey, of Kinbrace Road, Hartlepool, admitted three counts of supplying a class A drug and Armstrong, of Helmsley Street, admitted two counts.

David Lamb, mitigating for Armstrong, said the amount of drugs involved were relatively small.

He added Armstrong suffered the tragic death of his partner in the summer and could have resorted to taking drugs or seek help.

Mr Lamb said: "It’s clear My Lord that Stuart Armstrong has chosen, courageously I would say, the latter of those two courses.

“He has not reoffended since 2019.”

The Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Paul Watson deferred passing sentence for six months.

Barrister Stephen Constantine said Healey has various personal issues and needs help.

He was given 18 months in prison, which was suspended for 18 months, with probation.

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