Father and son drug dealers jailed for 'cuckooing' flat of vulnerable Norwich man
PUBLISHED: 12:02 13 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:40 15 July 2019
A drug dealing father who "cuckooed" the flat of a vulnerable Norwich man with his teenage son wept in the dock as evidence was read out against him.
Steven Ward, 36, and his son Danny Button, 18, were found in the bedroom of a property at Watson Grove during a police raid on October 12 last year.
Button was in possession of "£400 to £500" in cash, along with wraps of heroin and crack cocaine at the time, Norwich Crown Court heard on Friday.
The flat belonged to James Meaney, 46, who was provided with drugs for allowing the pair to deal from his property.
Meaney, who has since been evicted from the flat, was given a suspended 24-week prison sentence in May this year for his involvement.
Prosecutor Stephen Spence said: "It was a straight forward drug dealing operation involving a father and son. It was a county lines cuckoo case where they took advantage of Mr Meaney."
Cuckooing is when drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person to use it as a base for dealing.
Mr Spence said 117 wraps of heroin, weighing 6.9g and with a street value of between £600 and £1,200, were found at the flat.
A further 104 wraps of crack cocaine, weighing 12g and valued at £1,040, were also discovered.
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He said mobile phones belonging to Ward and Button also showed signs of drug dealing.
One text message read "I am on", which Mr Spence said informed customers that Button was "open for business".
While Ward's phone did not contain messages suggesting drug dealing, he messaged his partner to say he was in Norfolk and that "money was being earned".
Ward, of Clacton, Essex, cried in the dock as evidence was read out against him.
He admitted two counts of possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply at an earlier hearing.
Button, of no fixed abode, admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply. He appeared in court via videolink.
Sophie Sharpe, mitigating for Ward, said her client had four other young children and was "truly remorseful".
Andrew Horsell, for Button, said the defendant was 17 at the time of the offence and was "acting below his years."
Judge Stephen Holt sentenced Ward, who has 18 convictions for 30 offences, to 38 months in prison.
Button, who has previous convictions for dishonesty and violence, was jailed for 28 months.
Judge Holt also disqualified Button from driving for three-and-a-half years for a dangerous driving offence committed on August 10 in London, which he pleaded guilty to.