A DRUG dealer who hid £250,000 worth of cocaine in socks has been jailed.
Martin Leverton was caught with the drugs hidden in socks in a plastic carrier bag after police stopped him in the street, near his home in Talbot Road, Southsea.
The 41-year-old, who was walking home, claimed he had found the bag under a tree and told police he didn’t know why he had picked it up.
In truth Leverton had racked up substantial gambling debts and had agreed to look after the drugs to clear the money he owed.
The dad-of-two was jailed for three years and four months at Portsmouth Crown Court for his part in the plot to sell the drugs on the streets of Portsmouth.
Hampshire Constabulary’s Eastern Area Superintendent Richard John said: ‘Police take robust and swift action to stop the supply of illegal drugs in Portsmouth. We will never tolerate criminals dealing in substances that can harm and destroy lives in the community we are entrusted to protect.’
Police found 2kg of cocaine of a high purity as well as two mobile phones and £260 on Leverton, who was unemployed and claiming benefits at the time.
A search of his home on the day of his arrest in May uncovered another £1,800.
Leverton, who has previous convictions for theft and criminal damage, pleaded guilty to possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.
Sentencing him Recorder John Trevaskis said: ‘You say that you were effectively being used to warehouse these drugs, providing a safe address for them and your involvement was limited to that and was compelled by coercion based upon debt which you had previously accrued.
‘You effectively were not on the radar of the police force.’
Arlette Piercy, defending, said Leverton, who has worked as a plasterer in the past, had not told the police anything about who the drugs belonged to.
‘The reason for that is he has concerns for his safety and the safety of his young family,’ she said.
She said Leverton was not a major player in the plot and pointed to his claim that he found the cocaine under a tree as proof.
‘It was breath-taking in it’s naïvety,’ she said.
There will be another hearing in December when the police will seek to claw back some of the money Leverton made through his involvement with drugs.