Man convicted of role in large-scale cocaine operation at Suffolk scrapyard

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A man who played a “crucial” role within an organised drug supply operation at a Suffolk scrapyard has been convicted by a jury.

Kevin Parr, 58, of Alexander Street, Harwich, was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday of conspiring to supply cocaine by holding a drug used as a cutting agent at his home.

The court heard how more than 9kg of the drug benzocaine was found at Parr's Harwich address and was being used to "bulk out or cut" cocaine and increase the amount which can be sold.

Parr's involvement came to light following an undercover police operation which led to a raid on farmland in Flowton, near Somersham, last year and saw cocaine with a street value of around £360,000 seized.

The court previously heard how undercover officers were watching Christopher Southart on September 11, 2019, and saw him walking away from Parr's home address in Harwich.

Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, told the jury that Southart left Parr's home with an orange Sainsbury's carrier bag and drove away in a Range Rover.

Southart was followed to the Camperdown Pit scrapyard, owned by Paul Fenton, and was seen entering a large shipping container at the site.

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Officers from the cyber, intelligence and serious organised crime directorate then swooped, arresting both Southart and Fenton, Mr Jackson said.

Following the discovery of 2.2kg of cocaine at the "drugs factory", police then went to Parr's home and discovered around £6,000 worth of cannabis along with the benzocaine in a cupboard at his home.

The jury heard benzocaine was the "cutting agent of choice" as it looked like cocaine and tasted like cocaine.

Mr Jackson said: "Holding the benzocaine was crucial to all of this.

"You do not entrust this stuff to flaky individuals.

"Southart needed a man who he could rely and who he could trust."

Parr said Southart had asked him to look after a large quantity of cannabis at his home and had later been given two bin liners to look after.

He claimed he didn't know what was in the bin liners and denied that he had deliberately involved himself in the drug operation.

But the jury of 10 women and two men reached a unanimous guilty verdict.

Southart, 33, of Valley Road, Harwich, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine on January 17.

Fenton, 54, of Gaell Crescent, Hadleigh, has also admitted his role and pleaded guilty to permitting premises to be used for producing class A drugs on Monday.

Judge David Goodin said the trio will be sentenced together at a date to be fixed.

Parr was remanded in custody.