A DRUG dealer who, “tried every trick in the book” to minimise the extent of his activities, has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Daniel Cheesemond went out of his way to hinder police inquiries into his cocaine dealing, and then to cover for the money made from the illicit trade.

Durham Crown Court was told Cheesemond came to police attention after a report that he had damaged his ex-partner’s car, after a row when both he and she wanted to use the vehicle, on June 9, 2020.

Neighbours of his ex-partner reported someone having thrown a bicycle at the Mercedes Benz, damaging both the boot and bonnet, before riding off on the bike.

It followed a domestic dispute between the pair, in which Cheesemond is said to have claimed to have a gun.

Elizabeth Muir, prosecuting, said when police were told about the damage, Cheesemond’s former partner informed them of his claim to have a gun, statements she retracted the following day.

Police, therefore, went to his home and Cheesemond refused to allow them access, claiming they would need a warrant, at one stage apparently ringing his solicitor asking if officers were permitted to enter his property.

Eventually he came out of the house, but tried to lock the door behind him, repeating that they had no right to go inside.

Miss Muir said Cheesemond tried to clarify what police were looking for and told them they would only find, "a joint down the back of the sofa".

He also refused to provide officers with the PIN number for his phone, which was seized.

Miss Muir said following the stand-off, over, “a significant period of time”, police entered the property and found a quantity of a white substance in silver foil, digital weighing scales, not of the usual domestic kind, unused snap bags and an iPhone.

He was taken to the police station and again refused to give the pass code for the phone.

After his subsequent release on bail, but before police were able to examine the contents of the phone, he rang his provider to report it missing, leading to cancellation of his iTunes account.

It resulted in the phone being blocked, thwarting police attempts to examine the messaging.

Miss Muir said the white substance seized at the house was found to be 12.2g of cocaine, worth between £1,220 and £2,440 if sold in street deals.

Later examination of Cheesemond’s bank accounts showed unexplained credits of up to £50,000, only about £15,000 of which he was later to admit came from drug sales.

The now 30-year-old defendant, of Swan Walk, Spennymoor, admitted criminal damage to the car, but only pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply on the day of trial, in January this year.

Read more: Spennymoor man facing sentence for possessing cocaine with intent to supply

Lewis Kerr, for the defendant, said he was, “essentially, a man of good character in recent years”, but his downfall came about because of a, "spiralling drug addiction."

Mr Kerr said the drug misuse began socially and became more serious, so his client offset some of the cost by selling to others.

Judge Ray Singh told Cheesemond once police became involved in his domestic dispute he made matters, “significantly worse”, by his uncooperative response.

“It’s clear right from the outset your attitude was to frustrate these inquiries, trying every trick in the book to limit your involvement, using lies to bluster your way through.

“The more police began to dig, the more your dealing became apparent.”

Imposing the 54-month prison sentence, the judge also set in motion proceeds of crime inquiries, with a hearing set for November 1.

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