Blackpool cocaine dealer was observed by undercover police
A man who took part in a drug dealing plot in Blackpool has narrowly avoided an immediate prison term.
Deakon Bennett, 24, of Ashton Road, Blackpool admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Preston Crown Court heard he acted as a street level dealer, with others, for five months between April and August 2019, operating from an address of a co-defendant on London Road in the resort.
Bennet, who has autism, had moved from being a "loner gaming in his bedroom" who had never been in trouble before, to being a dealer.
Defending, Julie Taylor said Bennett, was befriended by a co defendant - a former school friend - at a community project run by Blackpool Football Club.
He then became involved in cannabis and cocaine and buying drugs for others.
Joe Allman, prosecuting, said: "The team shared a number of phones they were trusted between them to hold and use.
"The essence of that is he was observed using a phone that corresponds with times and calls to and from those phones, and contacts with local taxi firms ordering taxis for Deakon Bennet from those lines."
In April evidence showed he had 343 calls with a co-defendant, 27 contacts with a known street dealer and he was sending out group messages.
Imposing two years in jail, suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation requirement and 200 hours of unpaid work, Judge Richard Gioserano said: " It's hard for the prosecution to identify with precision just how many times you were out and about street dealing or to what extent on any particular day. I have to draw a reasonable conclusion from the evidence the prosecution does have.
"This is not of course just you, on an isolated occasion, street dealing, this is you playing an active part, to a significant extent, in the street dealing operation which was effectively being run out of this address.
"You must have had some awareness of others involved."
However he accepted he had been pressurised and that his naivety and immaturity had played a part, and that there was a sufficient prospect of rehabilitation that allowed him to suspend the jail term.
Thirty people were arrested by police in the major operation - codenamed Enigma by police - aimed at disrupting the supply and distribution of drugs in Blackpool.
Officers from Lancashire Constabulary carried out a number of raids and warrants in a two week operation in July 2020, which followed a probe launched in April 2019.
Several snap bags of cocaine and cash were seized from the address Bennett had used on London Road.
In all, between August 2019 and January 2020, 12 warrants were executed in the resort, with 16 people arrested and later released under investigation pending further enquiries.
During these searches Class A drugs, including heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and bulking agents were seized, with a street value of more than £250,000. Officers also found £11,000 in cash and more than 90 mobile phones.
Any information about drug dealing can be passed to police via 101 or anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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