Two men have been jailed after being caught dealing Class A drugs hidden in a North Tyneside park.
Sean Cairns and Paul Miller have been jailed for a total of five years eight months between them.
The pair pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply heroin (Class A drugs) across North Tyneside when they appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.
Cairns, 25, of Broadacre, Wardley, Gateshead, and Miller, 35, of Minton Lane, North Shields, were both arrested after police were made aware of suspicious activity in Linear Park in North Shields.
A Northumbria Police operation to crackdown on drug dealers across North Tyneside last May had led to the men hiding thousands of pounds worth of heroin inside the park, in a failed bid to avoid being found by officers.
Miller’s home had earlier been raided by police when officers recovered £1,900 in cash hidden in a pair of wellington boots.
Both Miller and Cairns were later stopped by police leaving Linear Park after collecting heroin they had hidden in the park.
Police seized £500 worth of heroin from the car and found Miller had £1,375 in cash and multiple mobile phones.
Officers went on to make a search of Linear Park and recovered £5,000 of heroin wrapped in plastic bags and left under rocks in the dene.
In total, officers seized £5,442 in cash along with their Volvo car.
Miller has been sentenced to three years two months imprisonment and Cairns to two-and-a-half years in prison.
After the hearing, Chief Inspector Jamie Pitt, of Northern Area Command said: “We take the issue of drug dealing very seriously as we know that heroin causes great misery in our communities with those dependent on it often committing crime to pay for their habit.
“We also work closely with partners to signpost users for help and support.
“We target dealers as we want to remove them from the community to prevent further harm.
“It is of particular concern that these men were dealing drugs hidden in a park, these items could have been found by children who may have taken them or by pets or animals.
“Thankfully this did not occur.
“We are pleased with the sentences handed down and hope this sends a clear message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated by the courts.
“Our main priority is to protect communities and get drugs off the streets.
“In this operation we have prevented thousands of pounds worth of drugs being sold in North Tyneside.”
Anyone with information or concerns about drug dealing in their community is asked to contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101.