DEALERS behind a drugs den where police found more than £30,000 of cocaine are today behind bars. 
A huge stash of the class A drug was found, along with cash and Rolex watches, when officers raided two homes in Gateshead after residents complained the pushers were making life a misery for the community.

But now two men responsible for storing the drugs at the houses on Moorcroft Gardens in Lobley Hill have been jailed.

George Kelly, 39, will spend two-and-a-half years inside, while Brian Hall, 50, was given a sentence of three years and six months.

Their accomplice, Julie Coyne, 39, was given a six-month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

 All three were convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Police raided the homes in November 2009 after receiving a tip-off from the surrounding community, while carrying out Operation WAYS, an initiative where police surveyed the community about the issues that concern them.

The trio were arrested in the raids.

The sentences passed at Newcastle Crown Court have been welcomed by police.

Temporary Chief Insp Jamie Pitt, of Gateshead area command, said: “The sentences handed out at crown court send a clear message to illegal drug suppliers that anyone plying their trade will be caught and prosecuted.”

At the time of the raids, families living nearby told of their concerns that drug dealing was going on on their doorstep, and of their relief the trouble had been tackled.

Grandfather-of-two John Brewis lives close to one of the homes targeted in the raid.

The retired building machine operator said: “What should have been done has been done. I’m pleased they’ve cleared them out.

“I’m shocked at the amount of drugs they’ve found in the street.

“I’ve always wondered if there was something dodgy going on round there, but I never thought it would be anything like that.

“I’m glad it’s off the streets. It’s generally a very nice quiet area.”