Man who told drug dealers Chippenham was 'ripe for the taking' is jailed
Updated 9:13pm Tuesday 29th April 2014 in Latest News
A man who told drug dealers that Chippenham was 'ripe for the taking' for the trade in heroin and cocaine has been jailed.
Ji Forte, 26. who was connected to a flat in Neeld Crescent, Chippenham, sent a message to a London dealers Ryan Denny, 22, and Jake Hill, 23, telling him there was money to be made in the town.
All three were arrested after staff at the Premier Inn, Swindon, contacted police when they realised what Denny and Hill were up to.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Monday that Hill and Denny booked into adjoining rooms at the hotel on December 31, 2012.
But after a couple of days staff at the hotel realised what was going on and told the police about the men, who had links to West London gangs.
Police and recovered evidence of drug dealing including their mobile phones and a set of house keys. The next day they went to a property in Dean Street, Rodbourne.
Using the keys to get in they found items including 43 grams of heroin and 59 grams of cocaine with a street value in the region of £5,000.
On the day of the hotel raid the police had also gone to a flat at Sheringham Court in Liden, Swindon, where there was evidence of drugs.
A young lady who was cleaning the property was found with a small amount of cocaine and arrested.
That evening Forte went to the police station to ask after her, was arrested and found to have two wraps of heroin and £828 in cash.
His DNA had been found on a toothbrush at a house in Chippenham which had been raided and he had been in contact with Hill and Denny.
Among text messages between the three was one from him telling them Chippenham was 'ripe for exploiting'.
Denny, of Streatham, and Hill, of Kensington, both London, and Forte, of Reading, Berkshire, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
The court was told both Hill and Denny had previous convictions in the London for trading in class-A drugs.
Daniel Jameson, for Hill, said after a previous jail term he had been staying on friends' sofas and was offered work and accommodation in Swindon so took it.
Timothy Greene, for Denny, said his client was sorry for what he had done and hoped to start a degree course.
Will Woodman, for Forte, said his client was effectively their runner and was an addict at the time, getting paid in drugs.
He said he had not been to Dean Street or the hotel and had only just gone to the Sheringham Court address the day he was arrested.
Passing sentence, Judge Tim Mousley QC jailed Hill and Denny for four years and three months each and Forte for two years.