TRACKER dogs helped catch a drug dealer while police were on the case of a diesel thief, a court heard.The animals were called out to help track the vehicle that stole fuel from a tipper lorry belonging to Andrew Taylor in Eastington, near Stonehouse, on October 18 last year.
But when the police’s four-legged friends came across the BMW X5 parked nearby, they discovered not only the thief, but a stash of drugs in the vehicle.Robert Lee, of Streamside, Tuffley, was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Gloucester Crown Court on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old admitted stealing diesel from a tipper lorry as well as possession of cocaine with intent to supply and possession of amphetamines with intent to supply.Prosecutor Julian Kesner said a search of the vehicle revealed drugs in a centre roof unit, as well as digital scales and sealable plastic bags in the gearbox.
Forensic examinations proved the powder to be 35g of amphetamines and four grams of cocaine.Mr Kesner added that the defendant’s mobile phone also revealed numerous text messages indicative of drug dealing.Defence solicitor Joe Maloney, in mitigation, said Lee became involved in low-level dealing to fund his own habit.He said he was only holding the cocaine, a Class A drug, for his girlfriend, but did deal a small amount of amphetamines.Mr Maloney said Lee had been okay until last year, when his girlfriend went into custody and he was being chased by people wanting money.
“He is being very realistic about his situation and he has come to court today with his bag packed,” he said.Recorder Ben Browne QC handed down the jail sentence while tears were heard from women in the public gallery.He said: “You have pleaded guilty to two drug offences and a rather less serious offence of stealing a quantity of diesel.”As you well know, possession of all drugs with intent to supply is always a serious matter.”From your Blackberry phone it became fairly obvious you were involved with street dealing, and I am satisfied you were doing this.”
Gloucestershire Police is currently cracking down on drugs in the county.
A spokesman for the constabulary said: “Our work is continuing and the key point is that if you are dealing or involved in drug crime, we are taking action and we will find you.”