ST AUSTELL police have reaffirmed their commitment to stamping out drug dealing in the town as six heroin dealers face the prospect of hefty jail terms after admitting selling the drug to undercover police.
At Truro Crown Court on Friday, three men from St Austell and one man from Camborne admitted selling the class A drug to undercover officers in St Austell last summer.
The men, aged between 26 and 45, alongside two others who admitted their role in the operation at an earlier hearing, will be sentenced next month.
Detective Sergeant Steve Reid, from St Austell police station, said the case sent out a clear message that drug dealing will not be tolerated in the town. "It's a good result," he said. "It sends out the right message and obviously drug dealing is linked to other types of crime – theft and acquisitive crime," he added.
Describing the individuals as low-end criminals, Detective Sergeant Reid said it was common for dealers to mix the drug with other substances before selling it on to increase their profit margins.
"They buy the drugs and cut them down themselves – they cut it down with other substances," he said.
Officers from across Devon and Cornwall Police were involved in the nine-week undercover operation, during which the six men sold small quantities of the drug to three undercover officers known as Sarah, Sophie and John.
The prosecution resulted in the continuing commitment from police to tackle drug dealing in the area, said Detective Sergeant Reid.
"We have a proactive team who are doing quite a lot of work in St Austell," he said.
At Truro Crown Court on Friday, four of the men entered guilty pleas to a number of charges.
Aaron Moss, 34, of Minorca Lane, Bugle, pleaded guilty to nine counts of supplying heroin on July 30, 31, August 5, 6, 7, and 13 to the undercover officers.
He pleaded not guilty to offering to supply a £10 bag of the drug on August 12.
Matthew Whittle, 45, of Minorca Lane, Bugle, admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin on July 30 but denied a similar charge relating to August 7.
Mark Rodriguez, 44, of Clifden Road, St Austell, pleaded guilty to five counts of supplying the Class A drug on August 12, 13, 14, 16 and 20.
Dean Lewis, 38, of Fore Street, St Dennis, admitted two charges of supplying heroin on August 21 and 28, and two of offering to supply a £10 bag of the drug on August 20 and 22.
He denied offering to supply heroin on August 27 and being concerned in making an offer to supply the drug on August 28.
Two other defendants in the case, Darren Young and Carl Carkeek, who were not in court on Friday, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
Young, 26, of Newton Road, Troon, Camborne, admitted supplying heroin on August 27 and 28 and Carkeek, 32, of Springfields, Bugle, pleaded guilty to supplying heroin on August 7.
The case was adjourned for sentence on March 14.