DRUG dealers who sent heroin and crack cocaine from Southend all the way to Scunthorpe have been locked up.

Benjamin O’Leary and Jamie Drysdale were found to be at the centre of a drugs operation which dealt Class A substances.

O’Leary, 20, of Hudson Crescent, Leigh, turned to drugs after being put on furlough last year and began taking a group to locations in south Essex and Kent.

O’Leary realised that the men worked under the “Billy Boy” drugs line, but continued to transport people.

Drysdale, 30, of no fixed address, acted as a runner for the operation and answered to O’Leary.

Both men were caught by police on February 6 this year, with Drysdale pulled over in South Ockendon, and later strip searched.

Police found a large clear bag in his underwear containing 66 wraps worth of cocaine and heroin.

Police then raided O’Leary’s home in Leigh. He initially fled but was cornered and threw a bag containing 126 grams of Class A drugs and £930 in cash, onto a garage roof.

His home was searched and a further £880 was found.

Nick Bonehill, mitigating for O’Leary, said: “Quickly he went from someone not at all connected to drugs work to someone running that line for periods of time.

“He dropped runners off and collected money and took them back to the Kent area to drop the money off.”

Mike Warren, mitigating for Drysdale, said he had long fought an addiction to drugs but that he made a “grave error” in dealing to pay off his debts.”

Both men appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday for sentence. They both admitted possession and conspiring to supply heroin and cocaine, and O’Leary also admitted possessing criminal property.

The court heard the operation spanned Essex and Kent, but would sometimes go as far north as Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire. O’Leary was jailed for four-and-a-half years and Drysdale two-and-a-half years.