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Dartford: Drug dealers who had 'shop on wheels' cry as they are jailed

By Messenger Reporter

Two drug dealers described as setting up a “deals on wheels” enterprise cried as a judge jailed them for selling cocaine, cannabis and MDMA in Dartford.

Harry Bishop, 21, and Joshua James-Smith, 22, wept as they learnt their sentences.
Bishop was jailed for a total of seven years and 10 months while James-Smith was imprisoned for five years.

Judge Heather Baucher told the pair: “Quite evidently you were street dealing and it could be described as a little mobile shop on wheels given how the drugs were divided out.”

Harry Bishop. Picture: Kent Police
Harry Bishop. Picture: Kent Police

Also in the dock at Maidstone Crown Court was Connor Stelfox, 20, who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years youth custody for his involvement in dealing cocaine and MDMA.

Bishop, of Danehill Walk, Sidcup, admitted three offences of possessing drugs with intent to supply, one of possessing cocaine, two charges of dangerous driving and two of criminal damage, including one to a Kent Police Ford Ranger.

He also admitted two offences of driving without a licence, two of driving without insurance, one of failing to stop and one of driving while under the influence of drugs at a time when the level in his system was almost four times the legal limit.

Bishop was convicted by a jury of three further offences of possession with intent to supply. His criminal spree was committed between November 2014 and November last year, and while on bail.

Joshua James-Smith. Picture: Kent Police
Joshua James-Smith. Picture: Kent Police

He was also subject to a suspended sentence imposed for being concerned in supplying drugs at the time of some of the earliest offences.

James-Smith, of Mayplace Avenue, Crayford, but who also has links to New Ash Green, admitted three charges of possession with intent to supply in November 2014 and one of possessing cannabis in December that year. He was convicted of three similar possession-with-intent offences, also committed in December 2014 and while on bail.

Stelfox, of Andrew Close, Dartford, admitted possession of herbal cannabis and was convicted of three offences of possession with intent to supply. The court heard many of the offences were committed in the Dartford area.

Prosecutor Ian Foinette said one dangerous driving offence resulted in police having to deploy a stinger to stop Bishop.

Driving a stolen VW Polo, he led a pursuit from Horton Kirby into Eynsford and then Otford in April last year, swerving across the carriageway and failing to stop at junctions. The police officer releasing the stinger had to jump out of the way as the vehicle mounted a grass verge.

Connor Stelfox. Picture: Kent Police
Connor Stelfox. Picture: Kent Police

Other police vehicles then forced the VW to stop and Bishop fled, running across the busy M25 to woods where he was later found hiding.

It was accepted by the prosecution that he had not driven deliberately at the officer.

Bishop was driving a Mercedes A Class on false plates when he led police on another chase from Darenth and into Dartford in November last year. The car burst a tyre when it hit a kerb but continued until police vehicles had to again forced him to a halt.

Bishop and James-Smith were arrested for dealing drugs after police spotted them in Highfield Road, Dartford, on November 29, 2014.

James-Smith ditched a bodywarmer he had been wearing as well as a bag, which were found to contain three mobile phones, drugs, cash and other drug paraphernalia.

Judge Heather Baucher
Judge Heather Baucher

The court heard one tablet of MDMA was found in a Tictac sweet box. James-Smith and Stelfox were arrested after being chased by police in Temple Hill on December 8, 2014.

A police dog later found drug paraphernalia, three phones and cash which had been ditched by the pair as they fled.

Bishop, James-Smith and Stelfox began dealing to feed their own drug habits.

Michael Polak, defending James-Smith, said he was homeless at the time but had since turned his life around and was in full-time work with a building company.

Nicholas Robinson, for Stelfox, said the hodcarrier was just 17 when he was dealing but there had also been a substantial turnaround in his circumstances.

Craig Harris, for Bishop, said he did not have a managerial role in the operation, or put pressure on others to become involved.

All three will serve half their sentences. James-Smith and Stelfox have both been on tagged curfew and will therefore also have 318 days and 124 days deducted respectively. Bishop was banned from driving for 47 months.

Investigating officer DC Debbie Cummings said: “Bishop, James and Stelfox were all caught with Class A drugs and each had a clear intention to sell them in the local community.

“Drug dealing blights communities and those selfish enough to take part make a dishonest profit out of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“Their sentences are a clear message to other offenders in Dartford.

“Kent Police will always robustly deal with these offences and officers will always ensure offenders get the punishment they deserve.”

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