THE DIRECTOR of a hair salon has been jailed with two other people for his role in a ‘significant’ operation to deal cocaine and amphetamines.
Michael Kingsley, co-owner of Wink, formerly based in Queen Street, was sentenced to 50 months behind bars at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday.
Prosecutor Mike Forster told how the 34-year-old of Highland Road, in Southsea, was arrested after he was found with cocaine and ketamine on June 9, 2015.
The father-of-three was also found to have sent a text message to 32-year-old Adam Atkinson from Portsmouth – also jailed on Friday, for 34 months – in relation to dealing a ‘half bar’ (125g) of cocaine two months later.
The quantity was linked to an intent to supply £5,500 worth of the class A drug.
Kingsley, whose business Wink Hair Ltd now operates from West Street, Portchester, also faced a charge for money laundering after failing to declare £15,000 of legitimate income to HM Revenue and Customs between January and October, 2016.
Mitigating, Phillip Rule said Kingsley – who has 37 previous convictions, including an 18-month jail term in 2012 for supplying cannabis – had ‘taken steps to rehabilitate his life’ since his latest string of offences.
He added Kingsley’s untaxed earnings were ‘declared’, albeit ‘late’, which saw him fork out more than £7,000 in charges, penalties and interest.
Judge David Melville dubbed Kingsley’s previous cannabis offence the ‘most serious aspect’ when sentencing.
As well as his connection to Kingsley, Atkinson of Nelson Road, Mr Forster told the court, was found to have more than 2kg of amphetamines in his freezer on August 22, 2016, with intent to supply.
Seized by police, Atkinson, who was arrested, had exactly 2,077g of the class B drug, which was of 15 per cent purity, and had a street value of £31,155 across the 21 wraps it was stored in.
Mitigating, Richard Barton said Atkinson had lived a ‘difficult life’ – racking up a trio of drug offences as a juvenile – but came to court for sentence a ‘very different man’ than he was when he committed his crimes.
He was sentenced him to 34 months in prison.
The final of the trio sentenced on Friday was Daniel Stevenson, from Emsworth, who was jailed for 40 months.
The 35-year-old of Washington Road was arrested on December 14, 2015 after police discovered 210 grams of high purity cocaine in the boot of his Mercedes – which was seized by police.
If cut, Mr Forster told the court, the 78 per cent pure drugs would carry a street value of £84,000.
Stevenson had agreed to ‘courier’ the drugs for an Albanian dealer – in a bid to be paid not money, but narcotics to ‘support his own habit’ – and handed over the keys to the vehicle, later seized, after the search.
His lawyer, Anthony Rimmer, read aloud an extract of an ‘emotional’ letter from his sister – a teacher in the Netherlands – who hoped imprisonment could ‘put him on a path to a happy life’.
Sentencing, Judge Melville said Stevenson had ‘a troubling medical history, particularly in relation to your mental health’.
Dubbing their supply operations ‘significant’, Judge Melville said all three men will serve half their sentences before being released on licence.
Defendant Jasmine Priestley who also appeared on trial and ‘does not know’ the men – but has previously been linked to Kingsley via a text message – dodged jail after becoming embroiled in the ‘social supply’ in 2015.
A relapsed addict at the time, the 29-year-old of Blackmoor Walk, Havant, wept in the dock as Judge Melville said it was ‘appropriate to suspend’ her 24-month sentence for conspiring to supply class A drugs.
All four defendants appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday as a result of a Hampshire police drugs crackdown, Op Jasper.
Detective constable Rachael Hannam said the drive had been a ‘long and complex investigation’ led by the force’s economic crime unit – involving staff from a range of departments.
On Judge Melville’s sentencing, she said: ‘Together, we produced an evidentially sound case and alongside the Crown Prosecution Service, presented it to the courts.
‘With the evidence stacking up against them, in week of six of their trial, they changed their pleas and pleaded guilty to these offences.
‘It is down to the professionalism and dedication from all involved that we obtained the result we did today – ridding Hampshire’s streets of thousands of pounds worth of controlled drugs and criminal property and protecting the public by preventing further criminality.’
On the seizure of Stevenson’s Mercedes, she added: ‘This should act as a warning to those intent on profiting from criminal activity. Hampshire constabulary will go after criminals and deprive them of their luxury assets.’