A CABBIE who dealt drugs from his taxi in Ellesmere Port has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Andrew David Roberts, 36, of Croft Court, Stanney Grange, admitted selling cocaine to help pay for a flat after the collapse of his marriage.
Appearing at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday, Roberts – who confessed to having a long-standing amphetamine problem – admitted all three counts levelled against him.
The father-of-one was arrested sitting in his Vauxhall Vectra cab on a Rugby Road car park in Ellesmere Port on January 21.
When officers announced they intended to search his vehicle, Roberts told them he had cocaine stashed in the arm rest. He was immediately arrested.
Police also recovered a dealers list, two mobile phones and £1,310.29 in cash.
When they searched a safe belonging to Roberts at his friend’s house, they discovered three bags of amphetamines inside, which Roberts admitted were for his own use.
He said he had been dealing cocaine since the start of December and that the mobiles had been used to take orders from customers.
A total of 58 bags of cocaine totalling 27.32g were found and Roberts said he would sell half gramme bags for £30, meaning the drugs had a street value of £1,740.
Judge Elgan Edwards, the Recorder of Chester, ordered the forfeiture of the money and the destruction of the drugs.
Howard Jones, defending, said Roberts – who has an eight-year-old daughter – had no previous convictions and had been of good character until the breakdown of his marriage rendered him homeless.
Mr Jones added: “He was reliant entirely on his job and in the summer of last year found himself potentially losing his licence because of penalty points. As it happened he kept his driving licence but he had decided to purchase drugs at that stage because he thought he was about to lose his income.
“He is someone who has had difficulties with amphetamines for years so he moved in circles of people who use drugs.”
Roberts admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply on January 21 in Ellesmere Port, supply of cocaine between December 1 and January 22 and possession of amphetamine on January 21.
Judge Elgan Edwards said: “It’s extremely sad to see someone of your age and with no previous convictions before a crown court charged with really very serious offences.
“I’m afraid custody is quite inevitable because if you go out and deliberately sell Class A drugs then I’m afraid the courts have to make it clear that that kind of conduct will not be tolerated.”
For possessing cocaine with intent to supply and for selling cocaine, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years, to be served concurrently. For possession of amphetamines he was sentenced to six months in jail, also to run concurrently.
Ellesmere Port police inspector Peter Case said: “We welcome the decision made today by the courts. Roberts showed a flagrant disregard for the law and also for the responsibilities associated with driving a taxi cab.
“The misuse and supply of illegal drugs continues to be a priority for the Ellesmere Port Neighbourhood Policing Team. We are doing all we can do to bring to justice those who continue to involve themselves in criminal activity.”