Three collared by undercover cops after covert surveillance operation targeting a cocaine ring

An armed drug dealer fell and broke his ankle while trying to run away from undercover police who had smashed his high-grade cocaine ring.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 5:00 pm

Covert officers had Darren McBride's home under surveillance as part of an operation, codenamed Haymarket, and saw Ryan Crake, 27, and Kriss Bunker, 40, visit the address on May 18 2016.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the men had attended, separately, at the 35-year-old's house, at St Paul's Green, Hetton, after receiving short phone calls from him just minutes before.

Prosecutors claim the visits were to collect the high purity cocaine from McBride.

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From top left: Ryan Crake, Darren McBride and Kriss Bunker with some of the drugs seized in the operation.

Prosecutor Liam O'Brien told the court when the men got back to their own homes, police carried out co-ordinated raids and recovered high-grade cocaine, worth around £10,000 wholesale many times that value when sold on the streets.

The court heard when McBride realised they had been collared, he tried to get away.

But Mr O'Brien told the court: "On hearing officers forcing entry to the address, he fled on foot.

"He was detained a short distance away, having broken his ankle trying to jump over a fence and run away from the police.

Darren McBride

"At the time he was armed with a hammer."

The court heard when police searched McBride's home they found scales, hidden inside a cereal box, which contained traces of cocaine.

When officers went to Crake's home at Morris Terrace, they found £1,350 in cash and in the garden shed, which was alarmed, they recovered 62.2g of 91% pure cocaine from a dog food bin and 18.5g of 78% pure cocaine from a plastic tub.

At Bunker's home in George Street in the town, police found 15.6g of 82% pure cocaine in his boxer shorts and 194g of 92% pure cocaine in a Tesco carrier bag and £3,320 in cash.

The scales which were uncovered during the operation.

Mr O'Brien said the cocaine which was over 90% purity appeared to be from the same batch.

He added: "The prosecution believe that cocaine was distributed among Mr Crake and Mr Bunker when they attended the address earlier on the day."

All three men admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Crake and Bunker also admitted possessing criminal property in relation to the cash.

Some of the cash found during the operation.

Miss Recorder Allison Hunter QC sentenced McBride, who is already serving ten years jail for similar drugs offending, to seven years, to run alongside his current jail term.

The judge sentenced Crake and Bunker both to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 300 hours unpaid work.

Tony Davis, defending McBride, said: "He had a very early addiction to serious narcotics. Were it not for that addiction, he would not have got into the trafficking of drugs."

Mr Davis said McBride has enrolled on a therapeutic programme at the prison he is at in Staffordshire, where he is subjected to regular drugs testing and is considered a "star pupil".

Daniel Cordey, defending Crake, said the defendants have waited four years to learn their fate and added: "He has completely changed his life around. He is a very, very different man."

Mr Cordey said former soldier Crake is doing well on a university degree and faces a positive future that would be jeopardised by an immediate prison sentence.

Ryan Crake

Andrew Walker, defending Bunker, said: "He is a regular family man in almost every respect, save for the conduct in May 2016."

Mr Walker said Bunker, who has no previous convictions, was at a "low ebb" in his life when he committed the offence but has stayed away from trouble since and has a good work record with positive references.

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Kriss Bunker
Drugs seized during the operation.