An Exeter man ‘heavily involved’ in bringing cocaine into the city has been jailed for nine years after admitting supplying the class A drug.
Richard Armitage, aged 42, of Littleway, Alphington, Exeter, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and breaching a Serious Crime Prevention Order.
Armitage pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to supply class A drugs for which he was told he would serve eight years in jail.
He also pleaded guilty to two breaches of a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) and was jailed for one year, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
He has also been made subject to a further SCPO, to last for five years.
He was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, January 25.
Armitage was heavily involved in bringing cocaine into the Exeter area between July and November 2019 which was subject to a large-scale investigation by Devon and Cornwall Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Branch, aided by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit.
The court heard that he paid the rent on a property that was being used by an organised crime gang as a safe house.
Unknown to them, it was under the surveillance of detectives who found that Armitage was present at the property, when cocaine was delivered for use in the Exeter area.
He was also present at another property when a similar delivery was made.
Armitage was arrested and charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
He has also been sentenced after pleading guilty to two breaches of an SCPO.
While serving a prison sentence for a previous breach, after he was stopped as he tried to board a flight from Exeter in August 2020 when he was found to be in possession of telephones and a laptop in contravention of the order, his cell was searched in April 2022.
The search found him to be in possession of two mobile phones and three charging cables, in further contravention to the SCPO.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Ben Davies said the sentence passed down by His Honour Judge Stephen Climie ‘demonstrates the sophistication and seriousness of the crime and the impact that this type of offending has on our communities’.
DSI Davies said: “This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who choose to engage in this type of crime. Devon and Cornwall Police are determined to protect our communities from the harm done by those involved in serious and organised crime through the illegal trade in class A drugs and will use court orders against individuals to prevent further criminality.
“I highlight the use of the Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) in this case. As mentioned in court, Armitage has been previously convicted of a similar offence and on release became subject to such an order. When Armitage realised that the police were on to him, having continued with his drug dealing, he tried to flee the country. We were able to arrest him for breaching the order using the powers set out by the court contained within it.”
He added: “This case highlights our relentless pursuit of people who commit this type of crime, we will seek and use serious crime prevention orders to safeguard our communities and reduce the risk posed and associated with drugs supply.
“Rest assured when Armitage is released from prison, he will subject to another SCPO to help manage him in the future if he doesn’t decide to change his ways.’’