A CONVICTED drug dealer who helped transport £58,000 worth of cocaine from Lancashire to be sold on the streets of Darlington has pleaded guilty to a second drug dealing charge.

Alexander Howe denied being part of the earlier conspiracy when he appeared in court for trial with four other men in August - but jurors found him guilty alongside Paul Baveridge and Blake Stubbs from Newton Aycliffe.

Less than four weeks after he was sent to the cells, the 22-year-old appeared before Teesside Crown Court for a second time where he admitted a subsequent charge of conspiracy to supply class A drugs which took place in September 2018 – six months after the first offence.

Howe will be sentenced for the two offences at a later date along with Baveridge, 30, Stubbs, 25, and two men who admitted to the earlier conspiracy - Oliver Pilkington, 25, and Daniel Field, 29.

During the trial in August this year, it was revealed Howe conspired with others to transport up to £58,000 worth of cocaine from Lancashire to Darlington.

Last spring he was spotted with Stubbs receiving a bright red shoe box containing 500g of cocaine in a Darlington pub car park. The transaction was witnessed by an undercover police officer who had the group under surveillance.

But two other men were released following the trial – Joseph McPartland, 28, was found not guilty and Ayaz Ismail, 36, who was released on bail after jurors failed to reach an unanimous verdict.

Addressing Howe, Judge Stephen Ashurst said: "As you are aware a sentence cannot happen until all of you are in court for the same offence. You will remain in custody until then."

*Paul Baveridge, of Pemberton Road, Newton Aycliffe, failed to attend Teesside Crown Court at the conclusion of his trial last month. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he is still on the run.