Ex-fireman and and Rugby father of three locked up after dealing heroin

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A former soldier and fireman has been jailed for two years for supplying heroin and crack - despite never having taken drugs himself.

Cleon Craig, 36, of Lea Crescent, Rugby, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of conspiring to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

Prosecutor Gareth Walters said that in the early days of the police operation in October 2010 an undercover officer, ‘Rachel,’ was introduced to Craig by other dealers.

One of them, Craig McGregor, who has been jailed for six years, was given £10 by Rachel and went off to meet up with Craig from whom he got a wrap of heroin.

So McGregor called Craig who offered her a £20 deal of crack cocaine for it.

She agreed, and McGregor took the perfume to Craig and returned with the crack which he handed to her.

The Aberfoyle team had no further dealings with Craig until August last year when an officer known as Al met McGregor.

Using Al’s phone, McGregor made a call to arrange the purchase of crack cocaine, and at a meeting which was set up Craig arrived and handed a wrap to McGregor who passed it to Al.

The next day Al called the number direct and spoke to Craig, who then met him and sold him a £40 deal of crack.

Al asked if he did heroin as well, and Craig confirmed that he did, so Al later bought a £20 deal of heroin from him.

When he called the following month Craig said he would not go out for just a £20 heroin deal, but would if Al would buy “20 of each” – so he agreed.

And when they met up, Craig sold him £20 deals of heroin and crack.

Craig was arrested when the police swooped on a number of dealers in November, but claimed he had met Al by chance and had not been dealing, added Mr Walters.

At an earlier hearing the court was told Craig had entered his pleas on the basis that he had only occasionally been dealing for another person who paid him £35 to £40 a time and gave him the phone to use on those occasions.

That was rejected by Mr Walters, who commented: “It would have been an enormous coincidence if every time Al called that number it just happened to be Craig on the other end.”

The case was adjourned on that occasion for a ‘trial of issue,’ but as that was about to begin Robert Hodgkinson, defending, said Craig no longer asserted he was ‘a paid hand.’

“His best mitigation is that he is 36 and has no previous convictions of any kind and has pleaded guilty.”

He said Craig, who had never taken drugs himself, had worked as a fireman in Jamaica before coming to the UK in 2000 and joining the Army.

But after being discharged for medical reasons he struggled to find work because he had no work permit. He did a number of courses and had a place on a course to do the final stage to qualify as an electrician, but could not take it up because he did not have the £1,200 fees.

Mr Hodgkinson added that Craig, who has three children and is very worried about going to prison because of them, became involved in dealing because he was short of money.

Jailing Craig, Judge Marten Coates told him: “You should have thought about your partner and children before you started selling drugs. You were not a drug-taker, but you decided to make some money by selling drugs.”