The Beverley antiques dealer turned organised crime lord who flooded East Yorkshire market town with cocaine

To many he seemed to have it all , a successful antiques business in Beverley's up-market North Bar Within, expensive designer clothing and an extravagant social life.

But, Karl Pettitt's lifestyle was not funded by hard shop graft, it was in fact the result of a hidden organised crime empire which he was the head of.

He is now facing a lengthy spell behind bars after he was found guilty of flooding East Yorkshire's streets with cocaine, leaving those most vulnerable in a spiral of debt and misery.

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Pettitt's history of being involved with drugs supply goes back to the mid 2000s when he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for drug dealing.

Antiques dealer Karl Pettitt.

He was released from HMP Humber in October 2016, having served 10 years in jail, before settling in Hull.

Pettitt, 52, set up an antique's business in Hull's trendy Humber Street, before opening another store in North Bar Within Beverley.

Questions were raised about how he was able to fund his extravagant socialising and expensive designer clothing and a joint investigation by Humberside Police and the National Crime Agency (NCA) was launched.

Detective Inspector Simon Vickers, of Humberside Police, said: "Pettitt was clearly living beyond his means since being released from prison for previous drug offences in 2016.

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"He manipulated people and exploited their vulnerabilities leaving a trail of debt and misery behind him.

"What was uncovered during our investigation was a history of drug dealing, debt, lies and deception and once we had enough evidence to support our case we were able to act and arrest him."

Pettitt was arrested in April 2019, and a number of warrants were executed across East Yorkshire and Hull. During the operation a large quantity of cocaine was recovered.

Pettitt was recalled to prison following a breach of his prison release conditions, where he remained to serve a further 30 months of his original sentence.

He was subsequently charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession with intent to supply class A drugs and went on trial at Hull Crown Court.

Detective Inspector Vickers said: "I know that Karl Pettitt’s activities have seriously impacted on the lives of those he came into contact with. I hope this will give some comfort to this community and offers a deterrent to those who believe they can prosper from a life of criminality.

“Pettitt, clearly convinced so many people that he was a legitimate business man while continuing to fund his lifestyle by selling drugs to the most vulnerable in our society.

“I want to thank my deputy investigating officer Ian Dobson, the officer in the case DC Karl Palmer, the CPS and the prosecution team for their tireless work in bringing Karl Pettitt to justice. It is this type of case that gives us the biggest work-load but the biggest rewards too.

Alison Abbott, from the NCA’s lifetime management unit added: “Pettitt was subject to lifetime management by the NCA after he was convicted in 2007 for drugs smuggling.

“Upon his release from prison, strict conditions meant he had to report his finances and movements to us – something he failed to do numerous times.

“Working with our partners at Humberside, further investigative work led to his re-arrest and this outcome.

“This should serve as a reminder to career criminals and their criminal associates that once someone is on our radar, they don’t come off, and the NCA will act upon breaches of any conditions to disrupt serious and organised crime."