THREE men have been convicted of being part of a cocaine deal worth £58,000 that took place in a Darlington pub car park.

One of the trio, Paul Baveridge, 30, of Pemberton Road, Newton Aycliffe, failed to attend Teesside Crown Court on Monday and a warrant is now out for his arrest.

He was convicted in his absence of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and Durham Police are now hunting him.

There were sobs from the public gallery in court when Blake Stubbs, 23 and Alex Howe, 22, were also found guilty of the same charge following the incident last spring.

Stubbs, of Pemberton Road, Newton Aycliffe, and Howe, of no fixed abode, were both remanded in custody despite bail requests from their representatives.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said granting the pair bail would only give them 'false hope' in terms of sentencing.

Their cases have been adjourned to allow pre-sentence reports to be prepared which is expected to take around three weeks.

Their co-accused, former soldier Joseph McPartland, 28, of Frosterley, was found not guilty of conspiring to supply Class A drugs.

However, at an earlier hearing he admitted to being involved in the buying and selling of cannabis.

He was released on bail to return to court on September 9 with the conditions that he lives and sleeps at the address given to the court.

Judge Ashurst told him: "The fact that I am ordering you a pre-sentence report and allowing you conditional bail must not be taken by you as any promise of what a sentence would be."

The jury failed to deliver a unanimous verdict on Ayaz Ismail, 36 of Brixton Road, Preston and they are due to return to court this morning in a bid to reach an agreement.

Two other men, Daniel Field, 29, of Station Road, Durham and Oliver Pilkington, 25, of Ley Street, Accrington, admitted being part of the conspiracy at an earlier hearing.

Throughout the course of the trial, which began at the end of July, the court heard details of the drug deal which involved almost half a kilo of cocaine valued at £57,840.

The cocaine had been driven across from Lancashire where it was intended to be sold on the streets for £80 per gram.

But the group was being watched by undercover police officers who seized the drugs and £14,930 in cash.