£100,000 of cocaine and crack discovered in Footasylum bag as police raid flat

Dylan Hyams
Dylan Hyams -Credit:Merseyside Police

Nearly £100,000 of class A drugs was discovered in a Footasylum bag when police raided a flat near to Sefton Park.

Mark Draper turned his apartment into a base for breaking down and repackaging cocaine and crack cocaine after falling behind on his rent. He and his accomplice Dylan Hyams were linked to the operation after their fingerprints were found on blocks of illicit substances.

Liverpool Crown Court heard today, Wednesday, that Merseyside Police executed a search warrant at Draper's flat on Belem Close in Aigburth on January 10 2022. No persons were found inside after officers forced entry to the property, but they seized a quantity of cocaine worth up to £90,000 and £5,500 of crack cocaine from the bedroom.

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James Coutts, prosecuting, described how around £1,600 in cash was also recovered from the address, as was a "large empty package with remnants of white powder". This was said to have been "consistent with a kilogram deal being subdivided" into the three separate blocks of cocaine discovered within the apartment.

One of these, weighing half a kilo, was found with Hyams' DNA on it. Another quarter kilogram parcel contained Draper's DNA.

Mark Draper
Mark Draper -Credit:Merseyside Police

Hyams, of no fixed address, has 19 previous convictions for 29 offences including receiving 10 years in 2016 for robbery. The 31-year-old was released from this sentence on licence in April 2021, then was handed a further four years in February 2022 for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Anthony O'Donohoe, appearing on his behalf, told the court: "The property was not his. There was nothing linking him to the matter, other than his fingerprints.

"Could we really say anything more than he has a role being involved, at some point, in some way, in the packaging of the cocaine? He says he was a regular visitor to that property.

"His previous convictions do not shed him in a good light, but there are no drug trafficking convictions on his record. He has a partner who is standing by him, and they have a son together.

"He tells me that he has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. His physical health is good, and he wants to embrace his inevitable time in custody as positively as he can."

Draper's criminal record meanwhile shows 13 offences for 16 charges. The 34-year-old, of Darnley Street in Dingle, was locked up for three years for possession of cocaine with intent to supply in 2017 and was last before the courts in 2021, when a community order was imposed upon him for possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis.

Eve Salter, defending, said: "Mr Draper has asserted that the reason he found himself in this position was that he found himself in financial difficulties. He was not working, having just come out of hospital.

"He has sustained an injury to his wrist and was signed off as not fit to work. He ended up in financial difficulty and became involved in the commission of this offence.

"There is no evidence of him living beyond his means. The defendant accepts that what he has done is wrong.

Drugs discovered inside a Footasylum bag in a flat on Belem Close
Drugs discovered inside a Footasylum bag in a flat on Belem Close -Credit:Merseyside Police

"He tells me, at the time of the offending, he was using cannabis. He has taken steps to address this addiction and is no longer using cannabis.

"He is optimistic that he will use his time in custody well to put himself in a position, when released, to have a fresh start. He tells me he was a painter and decorator, and the only reason he stopped was the injury to his hand."

Hyams was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of cocaine by a jury following a trial but cleared of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine. Appearing via video link to HMP Altcourse, he was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

Draper admitted possession of crack cocaine and cocaine with intent to supply and possession of cannabis. He was handed four years and four months behind bars.

Sentencing, Recorder Kendrick Horne said: "Mark Draper, you used your flat as a base for storing wholesale quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine and breaking them down for onward distribution. Dylan Hyams, your DNA was found on a half kilogram cocaine package.

"The jury rejected your explanation as to how that came to be there. They must have been sure that you were actively involved in the repackaging.

"Both of you expected to make significant amounts of money. Mark Draper, you intended to pay off some or all of your rental arrears, totalling thousands of pounds.

"There is no evidence that either of you were funding a lavish lifestyle. I am sure, however, that both of you were actively involved in putting quantities of drugs into bags."

To Hyams, the judge said: "You have spent your time in custody productively. I also bear in mind what is said about your mental health."

Dylan Hyams
Dylan Hyams -Credit:Merseyside Police

Turning to Draper, Recorder Horne added: "Since your release from prison for drug supply, you have worked legitimately. You fell back into offending due to financial pressures and not wanting to lose your father's flat when you fell behind on rent payments."

Merseyside Police's Detective Inspector Graeme Kehoe said following the sentencing: "Thanks to the diligence of our officers and the samples of DNA found on the drugs that were recovered at the address, Hyams and Draper will both face a considerable amount of time behind bars. We know the devastation that drugs cause, and Merseyside Police remains relentless in our pursuit of these criminals and ending their drugs trade.

"I hope this result shows how committed our officers are in removing any dangerous drugs that could cause serious harm and violence in our community and that we will use any type of evidence in our pursuit of those people who think they are above the law and believe they can evade justice."

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