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Dymchurch dealer jailed for supplying heroin and crack cocaine in Maidstone

By Julia Roberts

A drug dealer said to have been 'threatened and intimidated' into helping set up a new county line operation has been jailed for more than three years.

A court heard Andrew Bryant-Bell had ammonia thrown in his eyes and was stabbed multiple times by his own dealer, known as Jay, while living in Essex.

The 35-year-old also claimed he had a gun held in his mouth in a separate incident after Jay tracked him down to Dymchurch.

Andrew Bryant-Bell has been locked up for more than three years. Picture: Kent Police
Andrew Bryant-Bell has been locked up for more than three years. Picture: Kent Police

He was then ordered to sell drugs for the new set up in Maidstone to pay off his own crack cocaine debt.

When arrested by police during an undercover operation in the town in April this year, Bryant-Bell claimed to be a simply buying class A drugs.

But prosecutor Tony Prosser said it was later discovered the dad of one had stashed a package containing 83 individual street deals up his backside.

There were 35 wraps of heroin and 48 wraps of crack cocaine, Maidstone Crown Court, was told on Tuesday.

His iPhone also contained numerous text exchanges with 'Jay' over a three-day period.

The court heard that while at the police station he made a phone call in which he referred to the same name, adding: "I'm going to Elmley (prison). I've been caught hiding food (drugs) for someone."

Bryant-Bell, of Country's Field, Dymchurch, admitted two offences of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Bryant-Bell was found with heroin and crack cocaine
Bryant-Bell was found with heroin and crack cocaine

Two charges of being concerned in supplying class A drugs, which he denied, were ordered to be left on the court file.

Jailing him for three years and four months, Judge Julian Smith said although he accepted Bryant-Bell had been put under pressure, he still played an 'important' role in setting up the county line.

"You were acting to sell drugs in the Maidstone area for Jay, who had intimidated and threatened you in the past," he told Bryant-Bell.

"As for those injuries to your eyes and multiple stab wounds, it is, I accept, a matter that amounts to pressure and force placed upon you.

"You were present in Maidstone at Jay's behest and under his direction to set up a business from which he would profit from selling drugs to locals.

"But you were given a degree of independence, you knew what you were engaged in and you knew what you were involved in."

Judge Julian Smith Picture: Martin Apps
Judge Julian Smith Picture: Martin Apps

Judge Smith added although he did not regard Bryant-Bell as Jay's 'willing and full lieutenant', his role had been 'critical and significant'.

The court heard he has numerous previous convictions for drug offences, including possessing cocaine with intent to supply in January 2011 and for which he was jailed for 39 months.

He was said to have been addicted to crack cocaine since 2016.

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