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Leeds Live
Leeds Live
Georgia Banks & Megan Banner

Leeds man in drugs ring caught by police with cocaine and heroin stash

A man has been jailed after he was caught by police with cocaine, heroin and cash in a "county lines" drug network.

Thomas Cleary, 28, from Leeds, became involved in the country-wide conspiracy after struggling with a longstanding drug problem. At the heart of the conspiracy was Kyle Nelson who had a network of dealers including Cleary.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Cleary was seen on several occasions acting suspiciously in Darlington, before he was caught red handed with wraps of Class A drugs near South Park in the north east town, reports TeessideLive.

Read more: 9 criminals jailed in Leeds in June - from organised crime gang to man who gave girlfriend HIV

Prosecutor Ian West previously said the network spread wide and substances were carried to towns and cities, including Redcar, Darlington, Harrogate, Durham and even up to Scotland. Mr West said Cleary was spotted in Darlington on several occasions in May 2019.

He told the court on May 8, Cleary booked two rooms at a hotel - one for himself and one for a co-defendant. Later the two men were seen at the Sainsbury's Local store in Clifton Road, topping up a phone used for dealing.

Kyle Nelson was believed to be the conspiracy behind the network (Teesside Live)

The prosecutor said: "The phone was used to send out bulk texts to a number of people telling them that the supplier had new stock and was ready to supply. He was next seen on the 15th of May at Teesside Airport carrying a holdall and was arrested on 30th May, 2019, near South Park in Darlington.

"He had £204 in cash and three wraps - two turned out to be heroin and one cocaine."

The court heard he was taken to Darlington Police Station and was overheard ringing his mum and asking her to get Nelson to pick him up. Nelson, who first appeared before the courts in March 2020, was believed to have a leading role in the operation, however, the court heard he did not lead a lifestyle of luxury.

At a previous hearing, Mr West said: "He never soiled his hands with actual drugs, but he got others to do that work for him. His role was to run a network of couriers supplying to street level dealers."

In November 2022, Nelson was locked up for nine years at Teesside Crown Court. Cleary previously appeared at the same court on June 26, after being arrested on a bench warrant after he failed to attend his sentencing hearing.

Despite this, his barrister Victoria Smith-Swain said the defendant is now clean from drugs. She said the dealer started abusing drugs when he was just 16 after his grandmother died. The court heard alcohol and drugs played a significant role in his offending but he has reached a "turning point" in his life.

Ms Smith-Swain said: "He stopped taking drugs following his remand for these offences in 2020. He was working as a tiler for 18 months up until his recent remand and has been in a relationship for over eight months with a woman who works for a drug and alcohol service. She has been a huge positive influence over him."

The defendant of Naburn Road, Leeds, has 27 convictions for 45 offences. Judge Timothy Stead jailed Cleary for 35 months after he admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and failing to surrender to bail.

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