Garage owner with impeccable character aware of cocaine dealing
COCAINE deals were being carried out at a county garage after the owner "turned a blind eye".
Garry Summers, 37, boss of Whaddon Garage, in Stroud Road, on the outskirts of Gloucester, avoided jail for providing cover for the activities of a drug supply gang.
Gloucester Crown Court heard Summers provided cover for one of his customers, Simon Yates, who was preparing cocaine in a caravan on the site of his business.
Yates, 48, of Bodiam Avenue, Tuffley, was heavily involved in a massive drug supply operation cracked by police in Operation Wildlife. He is now serving a three year four months jail term.
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Summers, of Stroud Road, Whaddon, admitted permitting his premises to be used for the storage of cocaine between December 2011 and February this year.
He also admitted possessing a small quantity of cocaine.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC fined him £2,000 and ordered him to pay £1,700 costs.
He also ordered him to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
The judge told him: "You are a hard working man with good qualifications and you have built up a business that has got an excellent reputation. You are therefore an ideal man for someone who wants cover for their drug dealing operations.
"You are of impeccable character, you have got a lot of people going in and out all the time, you are slightly on the edge of town.
"All those things meant that persons such as Yates could exploit you and use you as cover for their drug dealing operations.
"But I am satisfied you are not a dealer yourself. I suspect pressure was put on you to provide the facilities that you did - a caravan where Yates and his people could split up he cocaine.
"It is exactly decent hard working people like you who are highly vulnerable to pressure and who are exploited and used - and that has to be stopped."
Rosie Walsh, defending, told the judge Summers made no financial gain and played no active role in the plot.
Sentencing Summers, the judge said he accepted he had "got out of his depth".
In June, 15 people involved in the cocaine plot, including Yates, were sentenced to a total of more than 50 years in jail between them.
After a year long police operation, more than 30 premises were searched and drugs and mixing agents with a combined street value of £2.5million was seized.