Convicted dealer’s fingerprints found on bags of drugs stashed behind garage

The justice centre in Leamington, where Warwick Crown Court sits
The justice centre in Leamington, where Warwick Crown Court sits

A convicted drug dealer whose fingerprints were found on a stash of drugs hidden behind a garage near Rugby town centre claims the drugs were not his.

Martin Jones, 22, of Ferndown Road, Rugby, appeared at Warwick Crown Court via a television link with HMP Hewell, where he has been on remand.

He pleaded guilty to charges of being concerned in the supply of heroin and cannabis between September and December last year.

Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said that at the end of September there was concern raised by local residents about drug-dealing in an alleyway near to the park in central Rugby.

The police were sent a photograph one resident had taken of a suspected dealer who was identified as Jones.

At the beginning of October a police community support officer who was checking the alleyway could smell cannabis, and found a plastic carrier bag hidden in a gap next to a garage.

In it were two more bags containing ten re-sealable bags of cannabis worth around £120, 10.6 grams of heroin with a street value of £1,060 and a set of digital scales.

Mr Grieves-Smith pointed out: “It’s quite common for drug dealers who operate in a public area to have a stash where the majority of the drugs are kept, rather than carrying them all around.”

Jones’s fingerprints were found on some of the bags, but when he was arrested and interviewed he made ‘no comment’ replies to questions put to him about the drugs.

But analysis of his phone revealed text messages which showed he had “continued to concern himself in the supply of drugs in early December,” said Mr Grieves-Smith.

The court heard that at the time he was on licence from a three-year prison sentence imposed in April 2012 for supplying crack cocaine.

Andrew Tucker, defending, said Jones had entered his plea on the basis that “he was somebody with a heroin habit who assisted a drug dealer by doing some bagging-up of the drugs.”

He then hid the bag for the dealer, and in return for his assistance he got his own supply cheaper.

But that was rejected by Mr Grieves-Smith, who said: “The prosecution say he played a leading role for profit, albeit the quantities involved were small.”

So Judge Richard Griffith-Jones adjourned for a ‘trial of issue’ of that aspect of the case to take place, and remanded Jones in custody.