Heroin dealer is jailed for four years

A DRUG dealer who peddled heroin in Ipswich to fund his own crippling habit is today beginning a four-year jail term.

A DRUG dealer who peddled heroin in Ipswich to fund his own crippling habit is today beginning a four-year jail term.

Paul Bassham was caught in an undercover police sting in June - Operation Towpath - which has seen dozens of pushers brought to justice.

The 28-year-old dad previously pleaded guilty to five counts of supplying Class A drugs, five counts of handling stolen goods, two counts of theft, one count of burglary and a charge of failing to attend court.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Bassham's reward for selling drugs was not money but heroin.

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The court was told Bassham, of King's Way, Ipswich, had a number of previous convictions, the majority of which were for theft.

Neil Saunders, mitigating, described his client's existence as “chaotic” but said he was beginning to turn his life around.

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“He is a drug addict who steals to fund his habit,” he said.

“His life has been utterly chaotic for many years.”

Judge David Goodin jailed Bassham for two-and-half years for supplying heroin and 18 months for handling stolen goods, which will run consecutively.

He was also given concurrent sentences of six months for the burglary and theft offences and a month for failing to attend court.

Judge Goodin said: “You have a poor record.

“Pushing Class A drugs around communities is a serious crime and the courts must take a very serious view of people who push drugs as you were prepared to do.

“I believe it's possible there has been a change in your attitude but you have to go to prison and for a significant period.”

Suffolk police's Operation Towpath was part of the larger Operation Bivalve which led to dozens of arrests in Ipswich and Felixstowe during June.

n. Do you think sentences are hard enough for drug offences? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or have your say at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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