Jail time for County Lines runner who dealt heroin and crack cocaine in Harrogate

A Harrogate drug runner linked to the County Lines trade has been jailed for 20 months after he was stopped by plain-clothed officers.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 4:31 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 4:32 pm

Christopher Hollowed, 54, who has a long criminal history, had been dealing heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Harrogate under the auspices of his drug bosses, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Matthew Collins said under-cover officers in an unmarked police car spotted Hollowed and another man approaching each other in the street.

Christopher Patrick Hollowed, 54, has been jailed for 20 months following County Lines drug dealing offences.

They exchanged, “by way of a short handshake” known as a “hand-off”, a drugs packet.

The officers approached the two men, but they ran off in separate directions. They recognised Hollowed immediately and caught up with him, seizing cash.

The other named man was detained and officers found two wraps of heroin and crack cocaine on him.

Hollowed’s fingerprints were later found on the drug wraps, suggesting he had sold the drugs to the other man.

Police searched a local block of flats where Hollowed lived as part of a wider investigation into County Lines drug-dealing and so-called “cuckooing”, the practice by which drug dealers take over the homes of addicts and use them as bases for their dealing operations.

One such “vulnerable” man, who lived a few flats down from Hollowed, was found in one of the rooms along with Lee Bavin, a County Lines dealer.

Bavin was found with several wraps of heroin and crack “similar in type, consistency and amounts” to the ones exchanged in the earlier street “hand-off”, said Mr Collins.

“It’s clear that this means that Mr Hollowed was acting as a runner, moving drugs (from that flat) to the..street,” added the prosecutor.

In January, Bavin, of Manchester Road, Bradford, was jailed for 21 months for his part in this street-dealing operation and received an extra 43 months consecutively after being convicted of further drug-dealing offences as part of a wider County Lines network. He is now serving a total five-year jail sentence.

Bavin, who had been active since at least 2018, was snared as part of North Yorkshire Police’s Operation Expedite. He was part of a wider network of Bradford-run dealers and drug runners targeting Harrogate and flooding the town with heroin and crack cocaine. He was initially arrested in September 2018 as he travelled in a white Mercedes heading for Harrogate.

Hollowed, of Mount Parade, who was sentenced today, Friday, ultimately admitted two counts of supplying a Class A drug following his arrest on January 9 last year. The court heard he had 105 offences on his record including 10 for drug possession.

Imran Khan, for Hollowed, said his client had an “entrenched” drug addiction dating back over 20 years which had taken a heavy toll on his health.

He claimed that Hollowed was a “vulnerable” man who had been exploited by drug suppliers higher up the chain and had played a lesser role in the dealing operation.

Recorder Alex Menary said that County Lines dealing “in this part of North Yorkshire is something of increasing prevalence”.

He added that, “unhappily, the buying and the supply is carried out by known, vulnerable drug users like (Hollowed)”, while the main players “kept their hands clean”.

He told Hollowed: “In the pre-sentence report you made plain that that is your life now. You were a (drug) runner.

“Anyone who involves themselves in dealing Class A drugs in broad daylight must expect a custodial sentence.”

Hollowed will serve half of the 20-month sentence behind bars before being released on licence.