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6 April 2018, 08:50 | Updated: 6 April 2018, 09:38
A man from Birmingham has been jailed for five years after driving dangerously to evade police following a suspected drug deal in Gloucester.
Gloucestershire Police have make tackling Dangerous Drug Networks, or County Lines, a priority and officers have been taking part in extra patrols in the Gloucester Park area following a number of violent incidents last year.
In October plain clothes officers using unmarked vehicles became aware of suspicious activity in Cromwell Street where drug users were spotted interacting with the occupants of a black Volkswagen Golf on the road.
Officers suspected a drug deal had taken place and then followed the vehicle in an attempt to detain the occupants on October 18 last year. However the driver, 48-year-old Anthony Rowlands, made off at speed and performed a number of dangerous manoeuvres to avoid being detained.
His attempt at an escape was captured on CCTV which showed the potential danger to fellow motorists, cyclists and pedestrians - which included people with pushchairs.
At one point Rowlands mounted the pavement on Trier Way and stopped approximately half a cars length from a person on a mobility scooter. He then travelled along Eastgate Street and crossed over on to the wrong side of the road to overtake vehicles.
Rowlands and his passenger, 22-year-old Jerome Powell, were detained on Clarence Street and both were arrested for drug supply offences.
Items believed to be drug paraphernalia seized from them and the Golf included phones, sim card cases, rolls and pieces of cling film along with quantities of cash. The phones were forensically downloaded and examined and stored messages were drug dealing related. This included bulk messages sent out to a number of contacts.
Rowlands, of Tibbats Close, Birmingham was found guilty of dangerous driving and of being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. He was jailed for four and a half years for the drugs supply and six months for dangerous driving, to run consecutively. His co-defendant Powell, of Vicarage Road in Kings Heath, Birmingham, pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and therefore received a reduced sentence. He was also jailed for three years and four months for being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.
Force Crime Operations Police Constable Joe Bawdon said: "Whilst Dangerous Drug Networks continue to operate within Gloucestershire, this sentence shows that police and the court will robustly deal with any drug dealing network which operates within the county.
"The people of Gloucestershire can feel reassured that we will continue to, and are determined, to be steadfast in this serious criminality."