Two drug dealers who took over a family home to sell Class A drugs have been jailed for more than nine years.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rhys Morar of Caractacus Cottage View, Watford and Shaquille Johnson, of Whittle Close, Walthamstow both aged 27, took over the property in Loughton in August 2017 to deal drugs in a practice known as “cuckooing”.

Acting on intelligence officers from Essex Police’s West Operation Raptor team secured a warrant to search the home in Loughton on Friday, August 4, 2017.

As officers approached the home they saw the duo walking away from the front door, and both ran off.

As they ran one of the pair threw a mobile phone in the garden of a neighbouring home.

Both were caught and searched and both were found to have mobile phones and cash.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Rhys Morar, 27, of of Caractacus Cottage View, Watford

Officers then searched the cuckooed property where inside they found: two bags of cannabis, wraps of the Class A drugs crack cocaine and heroin, various mobile phones;and drug paraphernalia including deal bags used to hold drugs and weighing scales.

Forensic analysis of the mobile phones also linked the pair to the supply of Class A drugs.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Shaquille Johnson, 27, of Whittle Close, Walthamstow, east London

Johnson and Morar were both charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Johnson was found guilty following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court while Morar admitted the charges.

Johnson was jailed for 54 months while Morar was jailed for 59 months following a hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, January 16.

Following the sentencing Det Sgt James Paget of the West Operation Raptor team said: “Drug dealers, like Johnson and Morar, are ruthless by their very nature.

“They prey on the vulnerable, exploiting those who are reliant on substances and in cases such as this taking over homes to be used as drug dealing bases.

“However it is the job of Essex Police to safeguard and protect the vulnerable and put drug dealers behind bars where they belong, as we have done in this case.

“We will continue to protect and serve the people of this county and take the fight to drug dealers to make Essex the last place they want to come.”

Essex Police set up Operation Raptor teams in the North, South and West of the county to tackle drug and gang-related crime.

If you have information about drug or gang-related crime in your community contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.