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A man from St Helens has been jailed as a result of an operation to tackle county lines drug dealing in Warrington.
Liam Hill pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine.
The 25-year-old, of Humber Crescent, Sutton Leach, St Helens, was sentenced for the offences at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 26 March.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years and ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge.
Hill was arrested by officers from the Warrington Beat Initiative Team on the morning of Wednesday 24 June.
The officers were on patrol in Burtonwood, Warrington, on the back of intelligence regarding county lines drug dealing in the area.
They spotted a known drug addict walk up to a grey Vauxhall Vectra on Perrins Road.
He ran back into an address on the road following a brief exchange with someone in the car.
The vehicle was subsequently stopped by officers, who saw Hill inside with what looked to be wraps of drugs on his lap.
They subsequently seized the wraps from his seat, as well as wraps of drugs in the centre console of the car and in a tub in the footwell.
In total, there were 20 individual street deals of heroin and nine of crack cocaine.
The officers also seized £815 in cash from inside the car and mobile phones that Hill had been holding.
Forensic examination of the phones uncovered messages regarding drug dealing.
They also revealed that Hill was in debt to another man.
The forensic examinations that were conducted also led to Hill’s DNA being found on the tub containing drugs that was in the footwell of the car.
Hill originally claimed when questioned in custody that the drugs in the car were for personal use.
However, with the strength of the evidence that officers subsequently gathered against him, he had little choice other than to admit at court that he had been caught drug dealing.
Following his sentencing, Detective Sergeant Tom Hall, who oversaw the investigation at Warrington CID, said: “I am pleased that Liam Hill is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions, and I hope that this case deters others from coming to Warrington or anywhere else in Cheshire to deal drugs.
“The case emphasises the importance of the police’s power to stop and search people and vehicles they suspect to be involved in crime.
“It is essential to the crucial role that frontline officers play in the detection and prevention of serious and organised crime.
“As a result of our ability to stop the car that Hill was in and then search him and the vehicle, a class A drug dealer and a quantity of heroin and crack cocaine have been removed from our streets.
“He had come to the Burtonwood area of Warrington to sell the illegal drugs that have a hugely detrimental impact on communities.
“We had gathered intelligence regarding county lines drug dealing in the area and were conducting an operation to tackle it that morning.
“We will continue to tackle county lines drug dealing in Warrington and elsewhere in Cheshire head on, utilising all the resources at our disposal.”
County lines drug dealing involves organised crime groups based in cities or urban areas extending their criminal enterprises into more rural locations.
The actions of these organised crime groups and the drugs that they supply causes untold damage to those who use the drugs and become dependent on them, as well as to the wider communities who suffer from the resulting crime.
Chief Inspector Neil Drum, of Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “I would like to thank the officers involved in this case for their sterling work in taking another drug dealer and class A drugs off the street.
“Drug dealing in Warrington 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.
“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 be given anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.