Drug dealer hid crack cocaine in underpants

A CONVICTED drug dealer who hid crack cocaine in his underpants when police raided his mother's pub was yesterday jailed for two years.

Joel James, 23, was seen hiding the drugs shortly after officers arrived at the Arbourthorne Hotel, in Sheffield, on September 23 last year Sheffield Crown Court heard.

He initially refused to be searched, telling police he was only 17 and then claiming that they could not search him because he was a Muslim.

But Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said officers found what was described as a lump of white material, which had fallen out of his trouser leg.

Ms Gallagher said James, who had been living with his mother at the pub in Errington Road, Sheffield, was then taken to a police station, where more cocaine was found in his underwear.

In total, 49.1g of the drug was found, and Ms Gallagher said that, at a purity of 27 per cent, it had a street value of around 3,400.

The court was told that James, whose girlfriend is due to give birth to the couple's first baby in April, was caught selling drugs to undercover police officers in 2007.

Defending, Richard Barradell, said James was not a "proper dealer" and his only motivation in hiding the drugs was to protect his mother.

Mr Barradell said James had seen the drugs being hidden in the pub by someone else and had decided to move them to ensure police did not discover them.

James, who was released from jail in September 2008, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.

Sending him back to prison, Judge Alan Goldsack QC said he could have simply handed the drugs to the police on the raid instead of hiding them in his underpants.

He said that if the drugs had not been discovered James would have been "aiding the general distribution of Class A drugs".