A MAN accused of being involved in the supply of class A drugs refused to provide his personal identity number (PIN) to allow police to access the contents of his phone.

Durham Crown Court was told when Liam Jones was arrested on July 3, last year, police recovered quantities of cocaine, plus 101 ecstasy tablets, found in the runner of a sliding cupboard door in the main bedroom at his home, as well as drug dealing paraphernalia, including scales and grip-seal bags.

But when police seized Jones’ phone for examination to reveal the fuller extent of his drug transactions, he refused to provide his PIN.

The 30-year-old ex-serviceman, of Welfare Crescent, Blackhall Colliery, initially denied possessing cocaine and ecstasy with intent to supply.

But on the day his trial was to start, in August, his guilty pleas to possession with intent to supply ecstasy and simple possession of cocaine, were accepted by the Crown.

When he returned to court to be sentenced his counsel, Martin Scarborough, said not all of the money going through the defendant’s bank account was to do with drug sales, and suggested there was a question as to whether he played a “significant”, or lesser” role, in drug dealing.

Mr Scarborough said there was a, “joint pool arrangement” with friends to purchase drugs,

But, following further discussion with his client, at Judge Ray Singh’s suggestion, Mr Scarborough said he reined back on some of those claims and accepted he would be sentenced on the basis he played, “a significant role”.

He added, however, that it would be Jones’ first custodial sentence, to be served at a time when inmates, “are not out of the woods”, as to the effects of Covid.

Passing sentence, Judge Singh told Jones: “We may never know the true extent you benefitted because of your failure to disclose the information on your phone.

“What is apparent is the suggestion they were drugs only to be supplied for a pool of six friends is patently nonsense.”

He said the drugs recovered by police were worth £3,000 in sale terms and pointed to unexplained credits of £12,000 going through his account.

Imposing a 40-month prison sentence he told Jones it would have only been 30 months had he pleaded guilty at the outset.

Crime proceeds inquiries will now take place with a confiscation hearing to be fixed at a later date.

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