Bournemouth drug dealer given community order for gang role

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Craig BiddleImage source, South West ROCU
Image caption,
Craig Biddle was a street dealer who sold heroin and cocaine to addicts in Bournemouth

A man who sold heroin and cocaine to local addicts as his part in a "highly organised" drug-dealing gang has been given a 12-month community order.

Nine members of the group, who couriered drugs between Liverpool and Bournemouth on a "commercial scale", were jailed in January.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard Craig Biddle's role was as a street dealer. His sentencing had been deferred.

Biddle, 28, was convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.

Image source, South West ROCU
Image caption,
Large quantities of cash were sent to Liverpool by the gang as part of the "commercial-scale operation"

The court previously heard the gang was thwarted by a major police surveillance operation in 2018 when drugs worth £150,000 were found being taken into Bournemouth on a low loader lorry.

They had operated a phone number in Liverpool dubbed the "Scouse Porky Line" since at least December 2017 which users in Bournemouth would call to obtain Class A drugs.

Ringleaders James "Porky" Brown and Thomas Garcia were each jailed for 10 years, while the others received prison sentences of between 32 months and eight years.

However, Judge Jonathan Fuller QC deferred sentencing on Biddle to await a report from his probation officer after hearing he was overcoming problems with drug addiction.

Image source, South West ROCU
Image caption,
James "Porky" Brown (left) and Thomas Garcia were both jailed for 10 years

The judge told Biddle his crimes could have attracted a "significant prison sentence" but that the probation report suggested he had "turned his life around".

"It seems that the trust placed in you on the last occasion we met has paid off," he said.

"It is not often that judges read such positive comments in probation reports."

Biddle, of Bournemouth, was also given a six-month drug rehabilitation order.

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