‘I knew this day was coming’ - Dealer admits fears to police after £24,000 drug arrest

James Stephen was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months for possession of drugs with intent to supply an

James Stephen was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months for possession of drugs with intent to supply and possession of criminal property. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A county lines drug dealer who fled from a car leaving behind more than £24,000 later told police he knew the day was coming when he would be arrested, a court heard.

James Stephen, 25, ran off from a black Audi car when stopped by police near the Haven Bridge, in Great Yarmouth, on August 21 last year, and when the car was searched a total of £24,695 was found hidden in the footwell, which was the proceeds of drugs dealing, Norwich Crown Court heard on Friday.

Richard Paterson, prosecuting, said on November 27, Stephen was seen acting suspiciously near a car with false number plates, in Great Yarmouth, and again he tried to run off from police.

Mr Paterson said that this time he was caught and found to have cocaine and heroin with a street value of £1,550.

When arrested, Stephen told police: "I knew this day was coming."

He was searched he was found to have 117 wraps of crack cocaine and 38 wraps of heroin.

Mr Paterson said that Stephen accepted the cash found in the car was the proceeds of the drug dealing operation.

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The court heard he had 13 convictions for 17 offences although no previous for drug dealing, only possession of cannabis.

Stephen, from Bootle, Merseyside admitted possessing criminal property and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply and was jailed four years and eight months.

Sentencing him, Judge Andrew Shaw told Stephen he had not been deterred to carry on drug dealing even after being caught with almost £25,000, which was the proceeds of selling drugs.

"You were actively dealing drugs in this county for some months," he said.

He warned that anyone caught peddling drugs would face custody and warned Stephen: "If you carry on in this way the sentences will only get longer."

David Stewart, for Stephen, said that he had a difficult upbringing and had limited education and opportunities.

He said that he had been living out of a car and dealing drugs in Great Yarmouth and said he was relieved when he was caught.

"He was glad when he was caught as the pressure was off."

After the case Sgt Tony Hogan said that Stephen played a leading role in a county line operation from Merseyside and that tackling county line drug activity continued to be a priority.