Undercover cops catch former fisherman dealing heroin

Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith

A former North Sea fisherman has been jailed for three years after undercover police officers caught him dealing heroin.

Nathan Keith Smith, 33, from Gainsborough, was snared by plain-clothed officers in Scarborough on four separate occasions between July and September 2014, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor, David Bradshaw, said officers posed as drug customers and used fake names to set a trap for Smith and another dealer as part of a long-running operation to smash the lucrative trade in Class A drugs in Scarborough.

One of the officers, who wore a secret recording device, hooked up with Smith through a third party and asked if he could get him some heroin. Smith sold him four heroin deals, each worth between £10 and £20, over a six-week period.

Mr Bradshaw said Smith was one of many drug users in Scarborough who had been pressured by criminal gangs from the North West, mainly Manchester and Liverpool, to sell drugs on the streets for them.

Smith, now of Gordon Street, Gainsborough, appeared for sentence on Tuesday, April 19, after admitting four counts of supplying Class A drugs.

The court heard that the father-of-five, who was on the cusp of becoming a fishing-boat skipper before his descent into drugs, had previous convictions for driving offences, handling stolen goods and being concerned in the production of cannabis.

Defence barrister, James Gelsthorpe, said: “Mr Smith was a man not without promise. Up until 2013 he had been in the fishing industry for 10 years in Scarborough, Aberdeen and Peterhead.”

He added that Smith had completed his training to become a skipper despite suffering from the debilitating health condition fibromyalgia, but he later suffered a massive seizure which ended his fishing career and left him on the dole.

Mr Gelsthorpe said Smith started taking large quantities of codeine to ease his pain, developing an opiate addiction in the process, and then started using heroin. He got involved in dealing through another local heroin user, who was in debt to a Manchester gang and was later jailed for drug supply.

Jailing Smith for three years, Mr Recorder Enoch QC said it was a “tragedy” that the former hard-working family man had become involved in drugs after losing his job “through no fault of your own”.

But he added that Smith had played a part in the Scarborough drugs “epidemic” orchestrated chiefly by criminals in the North West.