Ilfracombe drug dealer hid coke stash above electricity meter
A DRUG dealer has been jailed after police found his £1,000 cache of cocaine in a secret compartment above his electricity meter.
Patrick Berry, 46, was found with scales and plastic bags when police raided his flat in Ilfracombe but there was no sign of the drugs themselves.
Officers extended their search after becoming suspicious of two keys which did not open any doors at the property. They eventually uncovered the hiding place after noticing holes drilled in the wood above the meter.
Perry, of High Street, Ilfracombe, was jailed for four years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court after he admitted possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.
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Alex Allsop, for the prosecution, said the flat was raided in March last year and scales which contained a residue of cocaine recovered straight away.
He said: "A box was found containing a very small amount of a white powder, which was a cutting agent.
"Three mobile phones were seized along with two keys.
"The phones contained text messages indicative of drug supply and one of the keys was found to open an electrical cupboard where police noticed holes in the ceiling.
"They climbed into a loft space where they found a blue cash box which was opened by the second key. Cocaine was found in three bags with a combined value of about £1,000."
Nick Bradley, for the defence, said Berry was so terrified of receiving a lengthy jail sentence that he had pleaded guilty but now denies drug dealing.
He said the drugs had been for his own use and he had become involved with cocaine after moving to Devon to seek work as an odd job man.
Judge Gilbert told Berry: "You were selling to drug users in Ilfracombe and cocaine was found at your address along with cutting agents and three mobiles which contained texts which indicated you were dealing.
"You had a significant role in street level dealing and there is no good reason to depart from the sentencing guidelines for such cases."