A DEALER was unmasked when police found messages to his mum and girlfriend on his drug line phone.

Ross Belt was arrested at his home on Kings Street, Melksham, in September 2018. Police found around £140 worth of crack cocaine and £120 worth of heroin together with a set of scales, phones and more than £450 in cash.

The 33-year-old denied he was a drug dealer, telling police he had not used the phones nor had he ever been involved in the supply of class As.

Prosecutor Tessa Hingston told Swindon Crown Court he claimed a London dealer called TJ had used the house as a base from which to peddle drugs.

But analysis of the phones tied Belt to the trade. There were 368 bulk text messages advertising heroin and crack cocaine together with texts to his mum and girlfriend.

Also found on the phone was a message threatening someone who had allegedly robbed his runner.

Belt, who spent last year serving part of a two-year stretch for making threats to kill, pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Tony Bignall, defending, said his client denied using a runner and claimed the mysterious TJ had made use of the phone occasionally – suggesting he may have sent the threatening text. Belt did not give evidence to support the claim.

He accepted Belt had played a significant role in the line.

“He’s not the sort of man who has the mental equipment to even get close to having a leading role in an operation like this," he said. "He doesn’t accept he was coming under pressure from the man called TJ, but he’s not the inventor or the creator of the text messages although he accepts he sent them.”

Mr Bignall said his client was a model prisoner, completing various courses and looking forward to his release date. He was a former drug addict, but was taking heroin substitute methadone and had a job waiting for him upon his release as long as he was no longer using drugs.

Jailing him for three-and-a-half years, Judge Paul Cook said: “Your phone revealed significant text messages – some 368 – advertising the supply of drugs throughout Melksham, Chippenham and Calne and also your texts revealed a threat being made to someone for robbing you of your runner.

"That gives an insight into the scale and seriousness of the operation you were running.”