A drug dealer with a violent past has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison after being caught by police in Eastbourne. Adrian Pendley, who had no fixed address, was found in possession of a large quantity of Class A drugs and a mobile phone during a search at an address in the town. The 34-year-old claimed he was being framed by police but was subsequently charged with being in possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
Pendley was arrested at the home of a vulnerable person, who he had been using as a base for his County Lines drugs operation, known as cuckooing. County Lines dealing involves the sale of drugs from urban areas to smaller towns, with dealers and customers linked through mobile phone numbers. Vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, are often recruited to distribute the drugs.
The arrest was made as part of Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery), which was launched by the Home Office in 2021 with the aim of reducing drug-related crime and protecting people from harm. Since its launch, more than 600 Organised Crime Groups have been disrupted nationally, with almost 10,500 arrests and £3.5million in cash seized across England and Wales. More than 13,000 people have also been supported in drug treatment interventions delivered by outreach workers.
Chief Inspector for Eastbourne Di Lewis praised the actions of the police officers involved in Pendley’s arrest, stating that the sentencing reflected the harm caused by drugs in the community and protected local residents from a dangerous and intimidating offender. Sussex Police urge anyone with drug-related information or who suspects a property is being cuckooed to report it online or by calling 101. In an emergency, always call 999. Alternatively, the Crimestoppers charity can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111