A drug dealer hid crack cocaine in his rectum as police smashed their way into the Hove retirement flat where he was holed up with two colleagues.
Ayub Sharmarke, 18, panicked as police raided his bolthole, in Elizabeth Court, in Wilbury Road, last month.
The unemployed teenager was then kept in a “dry cell” at a police station until he passed the cocaine packages which, a court was told, should have been worth about £700.
Alban Brahimi, prosecuting, said: “The drugs were defecated but it was unclear what they were.”
The judge, Recorder Patricia Hitchcock asked: “Were they analysed?”
No, Mr Brahimi said, but Sarah Seear, defending, told the court that Sharmarke had admitted that the stash hidden inside him was crack cocaine.
Ordinarily, few people would think of council-run Elizabeth Court as a hotbed for drugs unless they were statins, blood thinners and sleeping pills – not to mention the assorted tablets to relieve high blood pressure, heartburn and the various aches and pains common in old age – all on prescription, of course.
But the reek of cannabis emerging from one of the flats in the leafy retirement complex gave it away.
Mr Brahimi told Hove Crown Court yesterday (Friday 22 September): “Mr Sharmarke was with two other individuals on Friday 18 August when police attended.
“They located Mr Sharmarke, a further male and a female in a residence where there is an older gentleman. He appears to have been cuckooed. The property was described as having a strong smell of cannabis.”
Police found a burner phone, scales and other drugs paraphernalia and two wraps of crack cocaine the court heard.
The other man, a 19-year-old, from Brent, in London, was found to have a class C drug, alprazolam, also known as Xanax. He was released by police on bail along with the woman, 30, from Brighton.
Mr Brahimi said: “Ayub Sharmarke was found in possession of cannabis, a number of £10 notes and some change.
“Mr Sharmarke was described as the boss and the other male as a runner.
“Mr Sharmarke had inserted drugs into his anus to keep these hidden. He was kept under observation in a dry cell where he was described as being nervous.”
Although an x-ray appointment was booked, the teenager passed the packages.
Mr Brahimi said: “Mr Sharmarke said that the drugs were for his personal use.”
He said that Sharmarke, of Wilson House, Springfield Grove, Greenwich, London, had got into debt with his drug dealer and agreed to work for him.
But, the prosecutor added, Sharmarke had exercised control over someone else’s home, exploiting a vulnerable person, and had “attempted to conceal the drugs by the plugging method”.
Sarah Seear, defending, said: “Mr Sharmarke appeared before the magistrates’ court and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
“He accepted that the drugs found on him (the cannabis) were for personal use. The drugs that he secreted were for dealing.
“He would be picked up and taken to an address and told to stay there and people would be sent to him.
“This is an 18-year-old man who (has a) lack of maturity. It’s his first conviction. He has the support of his family.”
Recorder Hitchcock said: “You were part of a group of drug dealers using the flat of an elderly man with numerous health conditions.
“Dealing in class A drugs is a vicious trade. It causes widespread, fear, addiction, criminality and death in our community.
“Your motivation was commercial – to make money. Your motivation was influenced by your lack of maturity. You made poor choices.”
The recorder told Sharmarke: “You had limited involvement and were in fear of others further up the chain.”
She said that the offence – having crack cocaine with intent to supply – was aggravated by cuckooing, attempts to conceal drugs from the police and his financial motivation.
But his youth, his fear of others, the early guilty plea and his previous good character all counted in his favour in mitigation.
Recorder Hitchcock said: “You have tasted prison on remand and it has had a salutary effect.”
She sentenced Sharmarke to two years in prison, suspended for two years, during which he would be supervised in the community by the probation service.
He was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and up to 30 days of rehabilitation activity.
He was also ordered to spend the next 24 weeks living at his father’s home in London and wearing an electronic tag while keeping a 9pm to 6am curfew.
He was ordered to pay £425 towards the costs of the prosecution and to forfeit the money found on him when he was arrested as well as the burner phone, drugs and related paraphernalia.
Recorder Hitchcock told Sharmarke: “I do not want to see you here again.”