A FATHER and son used a nine-year-old girl as a decoy while they peddled heroin at a play park.
Police spotted Stephen Edwards and son Steven Janny dealing the class A drug to a known addict while the child played innocently nearby.
The pair had travelled from Liverpool with the youngster to sell drugs in Portsmouth when they were caught in the act.
Both have now received jail sentences totalling more than seven years.
Detective Constable Toby Wilson said: ‘What is quite simply astounding is that Edwards was willing to bring a nine-year-old girl down from Liverpool to assist with the dealing of drugs. He showed no concerns for her safety while committing these offences and used her in effect as a decoy to hide his dealing from members of the public and police.’
Officers had spotting the pair cycling in the city with the young girl in tow.
On a hunch police followed them and saw a drug deal take place at Alexandra Park, in Northern Parade, Hilsea.
They watched them leave the park and then arrested Edwards in Chichester Road, North End.
Janny fled the scene on a bike but was chased and arrested by Det Con Wilson in nearby Belgravia Road.
Police later searched their rented room in Copnor Road and seized 19 wraps of heroin, almost £2,000 in cash, laptops, class B drug cannabis, train tickets and a copy of the Liverpool Echo on July 27 last year.
Both Edwards, of Mulgrave Street, Liverpool, and Janny, of Hinton Street, Fairfield, Liverpool, initially denied committing any crime in interview.
But fingerprints and DNA linked them to more than £8,700 worth of drugs seized.
Some of the drugs had been hidden in a shoe.
Police said information on the mobile phones and train tickets indicated the pair had travelled to Portsmouth ‘several times’ to sell drugs.
Edwards later pleaded guilty to supplying class A drugs and Janny admitted possession with intent to supply class A drugs at Portsmouth Crown Court.
Edwards received a five-year prison sentence, while Janny was sentenced to two years and three months in jail.
Det Con Wilson added: ‘As drug users fund their habits through robberies, burglaries and thefts, targeting class A drug dealers remains a priority for police in Portsmouth and helps keep crime levels low across the board.’
The woman who bought drugs from Edwards at Alexandra Park was later arrested. Police found three wraps of heroin on her.
Anna Matthewson, 29, of Albert Road, Southsea, admitted possessing heroin at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court. She was fined £150, and told to pay £85 costs and £15 to a crime victims’ fund. The drugs were seized and destroyed.