A STREET dealer who transported Class A drugs within his body from Liverpool to Darwen has been jailed for three years.

Preston Crown Court heard Lee McDonough, 18, had been 'installed' at the house of co-defendant and prostitute Wendy Parsons, 49, by a Merseyside drugs gang to pay off a cannabis debt.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said police raided Parsons' rental house in Sarah Street, Darwen, at 11.30am on February 6, this year.

Mr Parker said: "Wendy Parsons was in the living room engaged in a sex act with a male who was present. She was arrested as was the co-defendant who was in an upstairs bedroom leaned across a bed attempting to hide items."

Within that bedroom police found 66 wraps of Class A drugs with a street value of £660 and £1,926 in cash, the court heard. The drugs were broken down into 17 £10 deals of crack cocaine and 49 £10 deals of heroin.

An analysis of McDonough's mobile phone contained a number of text messages relating to drug dealing.

Mr Parker said that in one of the messages McDonough told the recipient that he was 'smashing it' and that he had made £120 so he was 'moving up the rankings'. Another message stated he had transported a significant amount of drugs to Darwen within his body.

During his police interview McDonough, of Stanley Park Avenue, North Walton, answered 'no comment' to all questions put to him.

Parsons, of Sarah Street, Darwen, said her co-defendant had been staying at her house for a number of days and she knew he was dealing drugs. She admitted to having a heroin and crack cocaine addiction and that McDonough had been supplying her drugs.

McDonough pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply. Parsons pleaded guilty to permitting her premises to be used for the supplying of Class A drugs.

Defending McDonough, Frances Hertzog said her client had accrued a drugs debt of £600 to a friend who had 'offered him a way out' by selling drugs to pay off his debt. He had only been selling drugs for around one week when he was caught.

Ms Hertzog said: "He is extremely remorseful for what he has done. In his own words he wishes he could turn back time, get a job and clear the debt in a proper way."

Defending Parsons, Alexander Rostron said his client had been using Class A drugs for 20 years and had prioritised buying them over clearing her debts.

Mr Rostron said: "She is rather ashamed of the way that she has supported her drug habit."

Judge Graham Knowles QC sent to a Young Offender's Institution for three years. Parsons had a 27-week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to complete a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Addressing McDonough, Judge Knowles said: "This is a case where you arrived in Darwen from Liverpool and used the house of a vulnerable drug user in order to deal. You had taken over from whoever was previously in control of dealing on the ground in Darwen,.

"You did know the names of people you were dealing with directly. You were under express orders not to use real names in text messages and you stuck to those orders. That is why people like you are punished and they're not.

"It was a nasty offence on your part and you knew it. You had seen from the way you were living the awful effects drugs have on people.

"You are a young man and a fool, as you know."