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A drug dealer from Liverpool has been jailed after being caught in possession of a total of 43 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine in Runcorn.
Peter Wharton pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply the class A drugs.
The 42-year-old was jailed for four years at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday 6 January.
Wharton was brought to justice as a result of a member of the public reporting suspected drug dealing activity in woodland adjacent to Humphreys Close in Murdishaw, Runcorn.
An officer who attended the area on the morning of Tuesday 14 July subsequently saw Wharton talking to another man.
Wharton matched the description of a suspected drug dealer provided by the member of the public.
As the officer approached Wharton and the man he was talking to, they walked to a parked car and got inside.
The car began to move away from the area, only for the officer to instruct the driver to stop the vehicle.
At that point the officer witnessed Wharton, who was sat in the back seat, attempting to tuck a package down his sleeve.
The car stopped in Humphreys Close, and the vehicle and its occupants were subsequently searched.
The plastic package that Wharton attempted to conceal contained 25 wraps of heroin and 18 wraps of crack cocaine. The estimated street value of the drugs is £430.
Wharton was also in possession of £850 in cash and a mobile phone.
Another mobile phone was found in the car.
Wharton, of Lowerson Road, Liverpool, was arrested at the scene, and when interviewed in custody he claimed he had bought the drugs for his own personal use and that his girlfriend had given him the £850 to buy items for their home.
He was charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs (heroin and crack cocaine).
After being made aware of the strength of the evidence that officers had gathered against him, Wharton admitted the charges on the second and final crown court appearance.
Police Constable Simon Gibson, who led the investigation on behalf of the Runcorn Local Policing Unit (LPU), said: “This case is a great example of how information from members of the public can lead to offenders being brought to justice to the benefit of local communities.
“It also emphasises the importance of the police’s power to stop and search people they suspect to be responsible for crime.
“As a result of our ability to stop the car that Peter Wharton was in and then search him, a class A drug dealer and 43 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine have been removed from our streets.
“I am pleased that he is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions, and I hope that this case deters others from dealing drugs.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, added: “Stop and search powers are vital to the crucial role that frontline officers play in the detection and prevention of serious and organised crime.
“Officers work tirelessly in their fight against drug dealers who blight communities in Cheshire with their illegal drugs, and I am really pleased to hear that they have secured another good result in this regard.
“I would like to thank the officers involved in this case for the work they have done to secure this conviction, and I would also like to thank the member of the public who played the key role of reported their drug dealing suspicions to the police.”
On top of his custodial sentence, Wharton was ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, of Runcorn LPU, said: “Class A drugs cause untold damage to the lives of both those who use the drugs and become dependent on them and the wider community who suffer from the resulting crime.
“Drug dealing in Runcorn or elsewhere in Cheshire will not be tolerated.
“While this investigation has now concluded, our fight against illegal drugs, and those who supply them, continues.
“Intelligence supplied by members of the public is crucial to this fight and I urge anyone with any information about suspected drug related activity in their community to get in touch. As this case shows, you will be listened to and we will investigate the matter.”
You can report suspected drug dealing to Cheshire Constabulary directly by calling 101 or giving the details online via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report.
Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.