Dealer took over vulnerable people's homes in Exmouth and Exeter

Samuel Allen

Samuel Allen - Credit: DC Police

A County Lines drug dealer who carried on operating despite being arrested three times has been jailed.

Samuel Allen took over the homes of vulnerable people and used them as bases for drug dealing but was also caught staying at a hotel in the centre of Exeter.

Police arrested him in October 2018, July and August 2019, but released him under investigation each time. He was finally detained after being caught dealing in Exmouth last September.

He was a member of a Manchester-based gang which used the street names Manc Pea, Black Pea, and Manc Todd and which brought well over a kilogram of heroin and crack to Exeter.

Allen carried on visiting Devon even though he served short jail sentences for theft offences in the meantime.

Whenever he was arrested, he claimed to be a holidaymaker but messages on his phone showed him and other members of his gang sending bulk advertisements to addicts.

In July 2019 he was caught in the home of a wheelchair bound drug user in Trinity Court, Exeter, and in September 2020 he set up shop in sheltered housing in Exmouth while the normal tenant was away.

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The vulnerable woman gave the keys to her flat in River Court, Exmouth, to a friend so she could feed her fish but Allen borrowed them and moved in without permission.

Messages on his phone showed he had previously asked a client to find him a base and recruit a runner to deliver drugs.

Allen, aged 29, of Partington, Manchester, admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs, being concerned in supply and possession with intent to supply. He was jailed for seven years, six months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

Gareth Anderson, aged 39, of Hampshire Road, Manchester, admitted a single count of conspiracy and was jailed for 21 months, suspended for two years with 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

The judge told Allen: “You were involved for the better part of two years, in between times in prison, but you went back to it every time you had the opportunity.

“You came from Manchester and had no reason to be in Exeter and it is aggravating feature that this was a County Lines operation, with all the misery that brings to communities.

“You were arrested repeatedly and released under investigation, but you didn’t let that deter you. The problem for you is the sheer persistence you showed.”

Mr Joss Ticehurst, prosecuting, said Allen was arrested with another suspected dealer at The Catacombs off Bartholomew Street in Exeter on October 16, 2018.

They were seen selling to known addicts in a notorious drug dealing location and had £693 cash and a phone from the Manc Todd drugs line.

On July 22, 2019, he was arrested at the flat of a wheelchair-bound drug user with a phone which had offered drugs from the Manc Pea and Black Pea lines. He had 131 street deals worth at least £10 each.

Allen returned to Exeter on August 19 and checked into the Southgate Hotel, where staff became suspicious and raided his room, finding £4,900 worth of heroin and crack.

Anderton, who had been brought down from Manchester with him, was helping to package them for street sale. Allen had £475 cash and the ‘graft’ phone used to sell the drugs.

The final arrest was on September 2, 2020, when police intercepted him as he returned to his temporary base at River Court. They found £1,000 worth of drugs, cash, and an extendable baton in the flat.

Mr Ticehurst said the main conspiracy ran between May and August 2019 and phone evidence and other drug seizures showed it involved at least a kilogram of crack or heroin.

Mr Simon Gruchy, for Allen, said he was in the grip of a ferocious drug addiction and carried out all the offences because he was desperate for money to feed his habit.

He said it would have been better for him if he had been locked up the first time, he was arrested but his other convictions for shoplifting in Manchester showed that he was not the one making money out of the conspiracy.

Mr Michael Kearney, for Anderton, said he was pressured into coming to Exeter to pay off a drug debt. He was told his role would be to look after the drugs but was instead dragooned into packaging them.

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