A drug dealer’s attempt to discard evidence of his activities was described by a judge as “like something out of the Great Escape”.
Drew Ewing, 21, from Boroughbridge, was caught dealing to a customer in the street and brought in for police questioning.
But while in custody, Ewing shuffled his MDMA stash down his trouser legs. He then used his foot to rub the illicit powder into the floor and spread it around the police station.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said Ewing’s ultimately-futile move was reminiscent of a scene in the Great Escape wartime film in which British prisoners-of-war shuffled bags of soil down their trouser legs above tunnels to hide their escape routes.
Unlike the fabled POWs, however, Ewing’s deceit quickly unravelled and he was charged with supplying Class A MDMA and cannabis over a five-day period in July. He admitted the offences and appeared for sentence at York Crown Court on Friday.
John Bull, prosecuting, said officers saw Ewing dealing to two customers in a public shelter in Harrogate. The two buyers fled, leaving Ewing sat with a bag full of evidence.
Mr Bull said police found text and Facebook messages between Ewing and his customers in which there were discussions about prices and drop-off locations.
Officers placed Ewing under arrest and found him in possession of 594mg of skunk cannabis, as well as 1.3g of MDMA, a powder form of ecstasy. They also seized over £500 in cash.
The court heard that Ewing, of Station Terrace, Langthorne, had 26 previous convictions for 55 offences.
At the time of his latest offences he was on a community order for possessing cannabis.
Ewing’s barrister Peter Minnikin said that Ewing was a heavy cannabis user and had also used heroin and MDMA in the past. Ewing had supplied cannabis to a “known group of drug users” to fund his own habit.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Ewing his offences had been aggravated by the fact that he had tried to destroy text evidence on his mobile phone, before trying to evade justice through his dispersal of the MDMA powder around the police station.
Mr Stubbs said Ewing had been dealing on a commercial scale for profit because mobile-phone evidence and Facebook messages showed he had been dealing to a “not-inconsiderable” number of people in the local area.
Ewing was jailed for 40 months.