A BMW-driving drug dealer has become the first person to be jailed following an undercover operation by police in Halifax.
Father-of-two Dale Taylor, 31, moved from Bradford to Halifax to make a fresh start, but last year was involved in dealing heroin and cocaine to an undercover police officer who was deployed on the streets as part of West Yorkshire Police’s Operation Lineland.
Taylor, of Friendly Street, Halifax, turned up in expensive hire cars, such as Mercedes and BMWs, to hand over deals to a female officer posing as a drug user on nearly a dozen occasions.
Bradford Crown Court heard that Taylor was a front seat passenger in the vehicles which arrived within minutes of orders for drugs being placed on the so-called “Billy line” mobile phone number.
The police operation. which led to more than a dozen people being charged with drugs offences, was prompted by concerns from local residents in Halifax West about the effects of dealing in their area.
Jailing Taylor for four years the Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC highlighted comments in community impact statements submitted by Neighbourhood Inspector Colin Skeath and two local councillors.
Inspector Skeath indicated that he was aware of clear links between child sex exploitation and the misuse of drugs.
Judge Thomas said the undercover female officer was subjected to “sexualised comments” during the operation including the implied offer of her paying for drugs with sex as opposed to money.
“It is apparent from a number of sexualised comments that were made to her....that this link between drugs and sex is real,” said Judge Thomas.
One of the councillors referred to Halifax West as having a high level of deprivation and poverty and added: ”The lifestyle demonstrated by drug dealers can often look appealing to young, easily-influenced persons.”
He also spoke about dealers “targeting schoolchildren...offering drugs for free to get them addicted.”
Taylor, who was given a suspended 12-month prison sentence for drugs supply offences in 2011, admitted a total of 11 supplying charges covering a five -week period in September and October last year.
Judge Thomas said the starting point for his sentence was six years, but his early guilty pleas at the magistrates court meant his term could be reduced by a third.
Prosecutor Stephanie Hancock said every drugs transaction took place in the Parkinson Lane area of Halifax which was a residential area with a school and college within half a mile.
She said Taylor and his driver had questioned and “teased” the officer about being with the police and on one occasion she was asked to lift her top up possibly to see if she was wearing “a wire”.
Barrister Ann-Marie Hutton, for Taylor, said he had accepted his responsibility at the earliest opportunity following his arrest.
She said Taylor had been a drug user himself and by acting as “a runner” he could continue to use drugs.
Miss Hutton said Taylor had left Bradford to “start life afresh” and he was now distraught to find himself in this position.
Judge Thomas said there had been real concerns in Halifax West about the terrible misery and consequences of drug dealing.
“So it was that the police ran this undercover police operation to identify drug dealers in that area,” he told Taylor.
“You were one of those drug dealers”
On Monday three other men also pleaded guilty to drugs offences and had their cases adjourned for sentence until May 13.
Two other men pleaded not guilty and will stand trial in October.