A DRUG dealer who supplied cocaine users all over South Devon has been jailed for more than five years after police intercepted his courier on the M5.

Stuart Grant received regular supplies from a gang based in Cardiff and set up his own distribution network before police started monitoring his home and seized drugs worth £7,000 from a courier.

Grant is thought to have received 11 previous consignments in the first six months of 2021 and was caught with £20,000 worth of cocaine and £17,980 cash, some hidden in fake Lynx deodorant cans or Heinz baked beans tins.

He used his profits to buy designer clothes and trade in cars and his partner was in possession of an Audi Q5 luxury people carrier when he was arrested. 

He turned to drug dealing after a property maintenance business failed during lockdown and he suffered two family tragedies, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Grant, 44, of Wheatlands Road, Torquay, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and two counts of possession of criminal property or money laundering. He was jailed for five years and nine months by Judge Stephen Climie. 

He told Grant: ‘You knew full well the nature and extent of this conspiracy and the damage done by class A drugs.’

Mr Ed Bailey, prosecuting, said a courier named Mohammed Islam was stopped on the M5 Southbound near Uffculme and a police drugs dog located £7,000 worth of cocaine hidden in the rear indicator housing.

Checks on phone and numberplate recognition records showed 11 previous trips and surveillance showed the courier at Grant’s address. Grant sent a text to Islam a couple hours after his arrest asking where he was.

Police found more drugs and cash at Grant’s home and a friend’s house where he kept a safe. Some of the drugs and cash were hidden in fake Lynx and Heinz cans in his kitchen and bedroom.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Grant has caring responsibilities for his autistic daughter and has used the time since his arrest to do voluntary work for the community.

He was running a successful home improvements business but it struggled because he spent so much time visiting his brother Jamie who suffered serious injuries after being stabbed in the head in 2018 before losing all its work as a result of Covid.

He had previously worked as a trawlerman in Brixham.