Ruthless drug dealer jailed after exploiting vulnerable man in Harlow
Crime / Tue 17th Jan 2017 pm31 04:02pm
A DRUG dealer, who exploited a vulnerable man by using his home as a base to ply drugs from, has been jailed for four years.
Officers from the Harlow Community Policing and Op Raptor West teams visited a property in Rundells, Harlow in July last year following concerns for the welfare of the man living at the address.
The four-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court heard the door was opened by 25-year-old David Joseph – a drug dealer from London – who was one of several gang members believed to have taken over the man’s flat to use it as a base for dealing (known as cuckooing).
Officers searched Joseph of Brandon Street, South London and found he was in possession of cannabis and £210 in cash. A further search of the flat revealed 26 rocks of the Class A drug heroin and crack cocaine, another £310 in cash concealed in Joseph’s bag and a mobile phone.
After Joseph’s arrest the vulnerable man living at the property told officers his flat had been used by a drug dealing gang for the last ten months. The man was rehomed for his own safety.
Joseph was charged and at Chelmsford Crown Court was found guilty of possessing a Class B drug and two counts of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply. He was jailed for four years.
Following the trial Pc Timothy Knights of the Harlow Community Policing Team said: “This case demonstrates how ruthless drug dealing gangs prey on vulnerable members of our community, exploiting them and forcing them into a position where they are often too scared to seek help.
“The Community Policing and Op Raptor teams worked closely with colleagues at Harlow Council to ensure Joseph was arrested but, very importantly, that the vulnerable man was safeguarded.
“I hope the jail term handed down to Joseph demonstrates how seriously both Essex Police and the courts take those committing drug and gang-related offences in our towns.
“If you or someone you know is being exploited, or in danger of being exploited, by gangs then please contact us.”
Anyone with information about gang or drug-related crime can contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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