A drug dealer from Runcorn has been jailed after officers found around £10,000 worth of cocaine at a flat in the town centre.
Ricky Hope, of Caithness Court, was the only person in the flat in Cooper Street when it was raided by officers on the morning of Wednesday 14 October.
The flat contained a substantial quantity of cocaine and two hydraulic presses used to make the class A drug appear pure/uncut.
The majority of the cocaine had been packaged into individual street deals.
The officers seized the drugs and the hydraulic presses, as well as digital scales, mixing bowls, spoons and a blender containing cocaine.
They also seized mobile phones and around £7,000 in cash from the address.
The estimated street value of the cocaine that the officers seized is between £9,845 and £13,810.
Hope was arrested at the address.
The 29-year-old was subsequently charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine and being concerned in the supply of the class A drug.
He pleaded guilty to the offences as soon as the case progressed to a crown court.
Hope returned to Chester Crown Court to be sentenced on Monday 11 January.
He was jailed for five years.
Detective Constable Adam Murdoch, who led the investigation on behalf of Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: “Acting on intelligence, we executed a warrant at a flat in Cooper Street on Wednesday 14 October.
“It was immediately clear that the flat was being used for class A drug dealing.
“However, the majority of the cocaine we seized, as well as money made from selling it, was hidden inside a safe.
“Firefighters at Runcorn Fire Station used specialist cutting equipment to open the safe for us.
“The substantial quantity of cocaine inside it had been split into individual street deals.
“We were delighted to have intercepted the cocaine before it could be sold on our streets and are equally pleased that Ricky Hope has now been convicted of the drug dealing charges we secured against him.
“He was caught red-handed and was left with no other sensible option than pleading guilty to the charges.
“Hope is now behind bars facing the consequences of his actions.
“Removing those involved in the supply of illegal drugs from our streets is of paramount importance as they have a hugely detrimental impact on our communities.
“Drug dealing in Runcorn or anywhere else in Cheshire will not be tolerated, and I hope this case deters others from getting involved in the supply of illegal drugs.”
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “I would like to thank all the officers involved in this case for their hard work in securing this conviction.
“This is another example of proactive police work leading to a drug dealer and a substantial amount of illegal drugs being taken off our streets.
“Illegal drugs and those who supply them blight our communities, causing untold damage to both those that use them and the wider society who suffer from the resulting crime.
“As police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, I know that officers work tirelessly in their fight against drug dealing and I am delighted to hear of this latest successful result.”
DC Murdoch added: “Although this case has now concluded, our battle against those who supply illegal drugs continues.
“I urge anyone with any information about suspected drug related activity in their community to get in touch. You will be listened to and we will investigate the matter.”
To report suspected drug dealing, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, give the details via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.