Motorhome thief caught supplying heroin

A thief who was serving an 18-month sentence for stealing a motorhome, has been sentenced for a separate drug dealing charge, just four days before he was due to be released for his previous crime.

Rhys Wilkinson, 21, was handed an 18-month custodial term at Carlisle Crown Court in January for offences of theft and dangerous driving of the motorhome which had earlier been stolen from Portinscale, near Keswick.

Police spotted and tried to stop the vehicle — driven by Wilkinson — in County Durham.

But the motorhome was reversed and deliberately rammed one police patrol vehicle in what a prosecutor said was “no doubt” a bid to disable it.

A helicopter crew had assisted officers during the pursuit and tracker dogs were brought in before both Wilkinson and the other man were arrested.

Just days before his scheduled release on licence last month, he was back at the crown court and admitted possessing both crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply.

These were offences which came to light on 10 July last year.

Prosecutor Brendan Burke told the court on 17 November 2022 that police had seen Wilkinson, of Coalfell Avenue, Carlisle, disappear into an underpass leading to Castle Way close to the city centre.

He was followed by a known drug addict and the pair emerged a minute later before quickly separating.

Police kept observing Wilkinson and at nearby West Walls he handed something over to a different person.

“They decided at that point to stop and search the defendant and found £210 in cash,” said Mr Burke.

Concealed in a Kinder egg container were 10 street deal wraps of heroin and six of crack cocaine.

The court heard Wilkinson had been “addicted and beholden” to drugs since the age of 14. He had recently managed to find a stable job which he enjoyed but, after relapsing, he missed shifts and lost the employment.

His crimes were committed after he got into debt with his drug supplier.

Jailing Wilkinson for 24 months, Recorder Peter Atherton said after hearing mitigation: “I don’t get the impression you were going to receive a significant financial advantage from this dealing although I note there are some concerning aspects — particularly two mobile phones which the police were unable to access.

“But I must sentence you on the basis of the facts which are known.”

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