A judge has sent out a stark warning to out-of-town drug dealers after sentencing three so-called “cuckoo” dealers to a combined 13 years for peddling heroin and crack cocaine in Scarborough.
Malik Boubir, 20, Shaun McCauley, 19, and Alex Bates, 21, all from Liverpool, were described as “foot soldiers” in a transpennine drug-dealing network.
But Judge Paul Batty QC said they had each played a major part in the Class A drugs trade which was tearing the community apart.
“The message should go out loud and clear that anyone who becomes involved in this activity of cuckooing and crossing county lines, as you three have done, can usually expect very heavy prison sentences,” said Mr Batty.
York Crown Court heard that the Liverpool gang had taken over a home in Seamer Road Corner belonging to a vulnerable drug user. Boubir, McCauley and Bates used the address as their drug-dealing base.
Prosecutor Laura Addy said this practice was known as “cuckooing” in which addicts effectively had their homes requisitioned by drug gangs.
She said six people were arrested at the Seamer Road property between October 24 and November 3 last year.
Two of the suspects were from Scarborough.
More than £6,000 in cash was discovered in the property and found to be the proceeds of Class A drug-dealing.
They also found 215 packages containing over 28g of crack cocaine, with a street value of £2,150, and 94 heroin packages worth £940.
Investigations revealed that the gang had paid £4,720 into a bank in Scarborough. The cash was withdrawn in Liverpool.
Ms Addy said the gang were sending money back to drug overlords in Liverpool who were replenishing their supplies.
On October 24, McCauley was seen leaving the Seamer Road property to meet up with known drug users. Officers arrested him and during a search of the area found an “extremely-realistic” imitation gas-powered air pistol under a parked vehicle. The weapon was loaded and McCauley’s DNA was found on the trigger.
He was arrested and bailed, but went straight back to the Seamer Road property to continue dealing. During a second police swoop on the property on October 26, officers found more drug-dealing cash including £2,500 stashed in McCauley’s jacket pocket. Drug debt lists were also found in the property.
All three defendants, each of no fixed address, appeared for sentence via video link on Friday after they each admitted possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply. McCauley also pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm.
Defence counsel for the three men said they had each been “coerced” into selling drugs by criminals in Liverpool far higher up the chain.
But Mr Batty told the defendants: “The property that you used (as a drug-dealing base) was effectively hijacked. It is a practice that is rife, sadly, on the north-east coast, particularly in Scarborough and Bridlington, and the drugs come principally from Liverpool.
“I have heard the evidence about the corrosive impact that this level of drug-dealing (has on the community), particularly in Scarborough. The evidence has been adduced because of the terrible frequency of this offending.”
He added: “Each of you was not simply a foot soldier in the usual sense of the word, you weren’t just gofers. Each of you was in it for the money, you were very much involved in a business and… there is no doubt in each of your cases that there has to be an element of deterrence in the sentences that I impose.”
Mr Batty said it was clear from the discovery of the “very realistic” BB air weapon that McCauley had operated as an “enforcer”.
McCauley was sentenced to six years’ detention in a young-offenders’ institution. Bates was jailed for three years and four months. Boubir was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
Three other people, at least two of them from Scarborough, had previously been jailed for a combined four years for their part in the “county-lines” supply network.