His son worked for his family business during the day and spent his nights driving around Aberystwyth selling and delivering cocaine

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A 20-year-old man spent his days working for the family construction company – and his nights selling cocaine.

James Hopson was caught in a retail park with the tools of his trade in his van, including scales and blowing agents to add to coke. Messages found on his phone showed he charged some customers £20 to make deliveries and also had a ‘runner’ working for him. Some of the people he was supplying were depositing money into a bank account in a different name to try to avoid detection.

Swansea Crown Court heard the defendant worked for the family’s driveway and tarmacadam business, and was seen as ‘the future of the business’.

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Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said that on the evening of January 6 last year, officers stopped a van in the parking lot of Parc y Llyn shopping park in Aberystwyth and spoke to the occupants – three people were in the vehicle, Hopson being the driver. Court heard officers saw casings of what turned out to be 79% pure cocaine next to the dashboard dials, and above the dashboard was a scale with traces powder on it. Hopson was arrested and while being removed from the van dropped a plastic bag containing more cocaine as well as cutting or bulking agents including caffeine.

The defendant’s phone was examined and officers found messages relating to the transaction that had been sent and received over the previous two months, along with a note listing the amounts provided and amounts owed, which the commonly referred to as a reseller’s “checklist”. The court heard messages showing Hopson used a ‘runner’ to help him distribute the deals, and was also charging some customers a £20 delivery charge. In other messages, the accused told people not to pay money into his bank account but to transfer the money to an account in the name of JD Lewis – the prosecutor said the police did not was able to determine whether this was an account that belonged to a real person or was set up by the defendant as part of the drug smuggling operation.

Mr Scapens said he was on the charge that on the night in question Hopson was ‘out and about in Aberystwyth’ with cocaine and scales ready to supply users, and that he had won ‘substantial sums “thanks to his activities.

James Daniel Hopson, now 22, of Sbeit Uchaf, Llandeiniol, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, had previously pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply and to be involved in supplying cocaine when he appeared on the dock for sentencing. He has no previous convictions.

Ian Ibrahim, for Hopson, said the defendant worked for the family driveway and tarmac dam business as a machine operator, and was seen as “the future of the business”. He said his client is now drug and alcohol free, has stayed out of trouble since his arrest and has turned his life around, adding: ‘If anyone has learned their lesson, it’s is he.”

With a one-third reduction for his guilty plea recorder, Carl Harrison sentenced Hopson to 32 months in prison. He will serve up to half of that time in custody before being released on license to serve the remainder in the community.

The court heard that no further action had been taken against the two people found in the van with the defendant.

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