A large scale drug dealer who brought tens of thousands of pounds worth of cocaine to North Devon has been jailed for 14 years.

Dominic Viner carried on dealing even after the police had caught him red-handed twice and seized more than a kilogram of cocaine, worth £70,000 and over £20,000 cash.

He supplied on a wholesale and retail basis and had lists of customers on his phone which showed at one stage they owed him £45,000 for drugs.

Phone evidence showed the gang had at least 46 different customers

He recruited friends Christopher Hommell and Adam Moulton, who helped distribute the drugs and collect debts, and a third man, Jacob Cox to act as couriers.

Dominic Viner was sentenced to 14 years in prison.Dominic Viner was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Viner's original gang was broken up by police on March 31, 2017, when a surveillance team watched Hommell and Moulton arrive at Viner's former home in Wester-Moor Way, Barnstaple and go inside before leaving shortly afterwards.

Police stopped Hommell and Moulton and seized 999 grams of high purity cocaine and £19,705 cash. Moulton fled when police raided his home in Barnstaple but dropped a bag with £1,550 cash and a cutting agent.

Viner carried on dealing and was caught again four months later in July 2017. This time he was with Cox and they were taking cocaine to sell in Bideford on the A39.

They tried to outrun the police but were stopped and Cox was seen throwing a bag containing 111 grams of cocaine out of the car. Viner, who was driving the BMW, had cash, two phones and a bag with traces of cocaine on it.

Christopher Hommell was jailed for five years, seven months.Christopher Hommell was jailed for five years, seven months.

The final drug bust was at a hotel in Barnstaple where Viner was staying February 10 this year and was caught with 89 grams of cocaine worth up to £8,000 and £1,740 cash.

Viner, aged 28, of Raleigh Meadow, Barnstaple, admitted conspiracy to supply, two counts of possession with intent to supply, and one of possession of criminal property.

Hommell, aged 27, of Greenbank Road, Barnstaple; and Moulton, aged 35, of Market Street, Ilfracombe; admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine. Cox, aged 24, of Town Walk, Barnstaple, admitted possession with intent to supply cocaine and cannabis.

A fifth man, Christopher Robertson, aged 31, of no fixed address, who bought cocaine in bulk to share with guests at a family party, admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

Adam Moulton was jailed for four years, four months.Adam Moulton was jailed for four years, four months.

Viner was jailed for 14 years two months, Hommell for five years, seven months, and Moulton for four years, four months.

Cox was curfewed for four weeks and sent on a drug rehabilitation programme; and Robertson was jailed for ten months, suspended for 15 months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court on Friday (June 7).

He told Viner:"It seems that reloading with a kilogram of cocaine was not unusual for this operation. This was mid-market commercial dealing."

Mr Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said police had used surveillance and mobile phone evidence to uncover the scale of the group's activities.

Viner and Hommell had refused to give the PIN numbers of their phones when they were seized but data was still recovered and showed Viner was owed £45,000. Hommell's phone had messages to or from 46 customers.

The total value of the drugs seized was more than £90,000 and the cash seized totalled more than £25,000.

Miss Emily Pitts, for Viner, said that he was heavily in debt to drug dealers and carried on after the first raid in an attempt to recoup his losses.

Lawyers for the others all said they played less important roles within the operation and were drawn in by their own vulnerability, either through drug use or in Cox's case, poor mental health and great immaturity.

Mr Charles Thomas, for Robertson, said he came into a different category to the others and was more of a customer than a dealer.

Viner's long sentence was welcomed by the police team who ran the intelligence-led operation.

Detective Sergeant Alex Bingham said:"These convictions demonstrate our commitment to tackling drug supply and reducing drug related crime in Devon and Cornwall.

"We will not tolerate this illegal activity and will continue to take positive and robust action on behalf of the local community against anyone involved in large scale drug supply or organised crime."

PC Andy Lee said:"These men were involved in the organised supply of cocaine to residents of North Devon. These sentences and the dismantling of their crime group will mean the community will be a safer place.

"I am really pleased that these sentences send a clear message to others involved in the supply of controlled drugs. Our streets are safer as a result and it demonstrates that the supply of drugs will not be tolerated."