Ipswich drug dealer jailed

ON the face of it he was a middle-aged man struggling along on incapacity benefit.

Anthony Bond

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ON the face of it he was a middle-aged man struggling along on incapacity benefit.

His neighbours would have had little knowledge of what was going on behind the doors of his rented Henley Road home.

But the reality is that 52-year-old John Byrne was living an extravagant lifestyle funded by dealing the powerful form of cannabis known as skunk.

When police raided his house on May 1, they found 10kg of the drug worth a street value of �100,000, as well as �4,500 in cash.

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He was also in possession of a Mercedes car, designer clothes, as well as laptops and mobile phones.

At Ipswich Crown Court on Friday Byrne was sent to prison for five years after pleading guilty to possessing a class B drug with intent to supply.

The court heard that the former Liverpool resident had a string of previous convictions from both Merseyside and Devon for possessing and dealing in drugs - including cocaine and amphetamines - which led to him previously serving lengthy prison terms.

In sentencing, Judge Neil McKittrick described him as a “habitual drug dealer” and said the items found at his house such as designer clothing “points to a lifestyle not usually associated with people in receipt of public benefits”.

He added: “You are a person who has been over many years dealing in drugs. I am persuaded that this is not just dealing to friends or associates - this is your retail enterprise at a level which is above street dealing.”

The court heard that while the police were searching Byrne's property a man arrived with a carrier bag containing �7,300 in cash.

Also found in Byrne's house were scales, mobile phone sim cards and herbal substances.

Claire Hullock, representing Byrne, said: “He puts his case on the basis that he was not at the top of the food chain and that he was a middle man. He took deliveries of amounts of cannabis and it was then his role to pass on smaller amounts. In turn he would receive half a kilo as payment which was for his own use and sold onto friends.”

Pc Craig Rumens from Suffolk police, said. “He was a difficult man to catch and it took a long time and we are very pleased.”

Do you think there is a drugs problem in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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