A drug dealer was found snoozing in an armchair by officers – after managing to sleep through a police drug raid of his home.
Tommy Aldridge was sent to prison after the search uncovered incriminating messages linking him to the supply of heroin, cocaine and makeshift weapons earlier this year.
Despite making attempts to distance himself from his criminal past, Aldridge was sucked back into the world of drug dealing and once again became a target for police.
Officers from Op Raptor South entered a home in Arundel Road, Wickford, following concerns that a vulnerable person’s home had been taken over by drug dealers on August 2.
Inside, they found Aldridge asleep on an armchair. Directly in front of him on a table were two mobile phones, knives, a sock with golf balls inside, scales and other drug paraphernalia.
Both phones, a Nokia and a Motorola, were found to be active drug lines and were used in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.
The investigating officer had proved the Nokia had contacted drug users as recently as three and a half hours before officers entered the property.
The messages also named ‘Tommy’ as the sender.
Aldridge was sentenced once again at Basildon Crown Court on Friday (October 8).
Judge Cohen said: “You pleaded guilty to two matters of being concerned in the supply of drugs, heroin and cocaine.
“You are a drug addict, even when you’re clean you’re still an addict.
“You will have a lifelong fight to stay sober. You will always need the support of your father and family.
“You were making, I am told, reasonable steps in your suspended sentence for April last year in connection with possession with intent to supply drugs.
“But events became difficult, your mother had been assaulted, and you became very rapidly dragged back into the world of drugs.
“When police raided your address you were fast asleep, having managed to sleep through the police raiding your premises.
“Your table you were sitting at had a phone for drug dealing and a knife to cut up drugs and a golf ball in a sock, which was certainly a weapon. Where there is drugs there is also violence. People who sell drugs need to protect their stock.”
The judge accepted that Aldridge was not the man at the head of the drugs operation, but was involved in the supply further down the chain of the “significant” operation.
Aldridge received three years and one month in jail for the two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Judge Cohen added: “It’s not going to be easy when you come out but your life is in your hands, not anyone else’s.
“You have a family that care about you, and want to help you make it.”
PC Dan Onley, of Op Raptor South, said: “Unbeknownst to Aldridge, we had all the information we needed to convict him before we even arrested him in Wickford in August.
“The case we had against him was so overwhelming, he had no option but to admit his guilt.
“Aldridge is still young, and he has time to turn his life around and he will be given the support to do that should he want to.
“I hope he uses his time in prison to reassess his life plans. Drug dealing in Essex simply does not pay.”