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Dealer ran £124,000 drugs operation from Norfolk prison cell

PUBLISHED: 13:45 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:51 16 September 2019

Norfolk police involved in a raid linked to county lines drug dealing. Picture: Archant.

Norfolk police involved in a raid linked to county lines drug dealing. Picture: Archant.

Archant

A dealer ran a lucrative drugs operation from a Norfolk jail with the help of his "business manager" who trafficked two vulnerable teenagers to sell drugs on the streets of Great Yarmouth.

Shaun Ellis, 26, ran the 'Chase' dealer line, which is estimated to have made more than £124,000 over a four-month period, while serving in Wayland Prison, and got Nathan Hamilton to run the business for him while he was inside.

Jude Durr, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said that Ellis was in regular phone contact on a daily basis with Hamilton, 29, from jail speaking in "slang" terms to arrange drug deals and telling him what he should do.

He said: "This was an enterprise of some size."

Mr Durr said drugs came from London to Great Yarmouth and investigations revealed that as part of the drugs enterprise two boys aged 15 and 16 had been brought to Norfolk to sell drugs. The two have since been identified as victims of modern slavery.

"These were both young and vulnerable individuals."

The operation was smashed after police arrested Hamilton and 28-year-old Blaire Carpenter-Angol in a car at Fullers Hill, in Great Yarmouth, and managed to seize mobile phones, including the dealer phone for the 'Chase' line, which showed more than 30,000 calls and messages had been made over a four-month period.

They recovered messages which included Ellis asking how the business was doing and Hamilton telling him they had loads of customers "happy banging" the phone, which was slang for drug users contacting the line.

Mr Durr said that Ellis also at times was annoyed at Hamilton, telling him he could not "pattern up" - meaning he was not up to running the business.

While in police custody, police grew suspicious that Carpenter-Angol had secreted drugs inside his body and after several days he was taken to the James Paget University Hospital to have the packages of drugs removed.

Mr Durr said that 272 wraps of heroin and 292 wraps of cocaine were recovered with a street value totalling £5,640.

He said: "This conspiracy had the expectation of making substantial financial gain."

Ellis, who was described as the "commander-in-chief" admitted conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin between May and October 12 last year.

Hamilton, of Mawby Street, London, pleaded guilty to arranging the travel of another person with a view to exploitation along with two counts of conspiring to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

Danielle Manson, for Hamilton, said this would now be his third conviction for drugs supply and so he knew he would be facing a lengthy jail term, but said although he accepted he had brought the teenagers to Norfolk he denied he had recruited them.

"He did not recruit the young people."

She said that he was planning to put his time in jail to good use.

"He plans to put his time to good use during the lengthy custodial sentence to address his previous lifestyle."

Richard Conley, for Ellis, claimed he was not in charge of the whole operation and said: "He is not a chief executive officer. He was more akin to being a major shareholder."

He said that he was a serving prisoner at the time of the offences which meant his influence was limited.

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"What should not be forgotten is that Ellis was a serving prisoner and was going to be one for at least a year at the time these conversations were taking place. The extent of his involvement and influence is going to be limited."

He said that Ellis went off the rails when his step-brother was murdered and said that he had got involved in the murky world of drugs.

Claire Matthews, for Nicholas Lawrence, 47, of Gapton Hall Road, Great Yarmouth, who also admitted being part of the drugs conspiracy, became involved as a well-known local drug user, who had been on the Great Yarmouth drugs scene for 25 years.

She said it made him an obvious asset to the gang as he knew the local market.

David Stewart, for Carpenter-Angol from London, said he had only been involved in the drugs conspiracy for two months .

He said that he had played a lesser role and was putting his time on remand to good use.

Benjamin Squirrell, for Thimotew Adetona, 19, from Barnet, said he was charged with being concerned in supply.

He said that Adetona's motive for getting involved had been money and said: "He has been candid in what brought him into this."

The case continues and members of the gang are expected to be sentenced on Tuesday.

The case continues.

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