Eight Blackpool residents in dock over alleged involvement in drugs conspiracy

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A dad accused of involvement in dealing class A drugs in Blackpool has told jurors a consignment of cocaine was delivered to him "by mistake".

Philip Bennett claims he was expecting a delivery of cannabis - a class B drug.

Police raided several addresses

Police raided several addresses

The 38-year-old, of Branstree Road, Blackpool, has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to supply a class A drug and is on trial at Preston Crown Court along with several co-accused.

The court heard his home was among several addresses raided across the Blackpool and Fleetwood areas last June as part of Operation Jennet.

He says he was involved with cannabis but not cocaine - but the court heard this was a different account to what he had told police in his interview.

Prosecuting, Martin Reid asked him why he had not told police during his interview that he had been involved with cannabis.

Bennett replied: " I didn't think I was getting out of that cell, I thought I would get the blame for everything.

"I thought I was never going to see my son again, or my home.

"I thought I was going straight to jail."

He also told the court he was not thinking straight because he was worried what would happen to his son, whom he has had full custody of since 2011 when his partner was admitted to hospital with depression.

Mr Reid said: "That doesn't fit in with the defence you now want to run.

"The reason you never told police you were holding cannabis is you were holding cocaine."

The trial arose as a result of Operation Jennett, an investigation into alleged serious and organised crime on the Fylde coast.

Also in the dock are Daniel Thornber, 37, of Dingle Avenue, Steven McIvor, 28, of Warley Road, Christopher Whiteley, 43, of George Street, Elaine Jackson, 56, and Ricky Jackson, 51 of Mardale Avenue, Matthew Evans, 33, of Peter Street, and John Johnstone, 60, of Bowland Crescent.

(proceeding)