Men are accused of producing crack cocaine in a saucepan in Ballymena

Men are accused of producing crack cocaine in a saucepan in Ballymena

THREE men accused in relation to thousands of pounds worth of crack cocaine allegedly being found in a saucepan when police swooped on a house in Ballymena have had their cases further adjourned to the end of March.

Trevor Hayes (49), with an address listed as Queen Street in Ballymena; Anwar Iqbal (35), of Church Road in Glengormley, and Gareth Law (29), of Toome Road, Ballymena, each face a number of charges including producing crack cocaine on October 12 last year.

A prosecutor asked for the case to be adjourned to March 31 to possibly fix a date for a Preliminary Enquiry - the legal step to potentially send the cases to the Crown Court.

Hayes and Iqbal are in custody and Law is on bail.

Previously, a police officer told Ballymena Magistrates Court, the PSNI searched Hayes' home at 1.45pm on October 12 last year and "a saucepan in the kitchen was observed with suspected crack cocaine present".

She said it was estimated to be 30 grammes worth.  She said the crack cocaine was suspected as being sold in 'deals' of between 0.1 and 0.5 grammes, based on a "mobile phone report".

The officer said the saucepan contained between 60 to 300 'deals' with a 'street value' up to £6,000.

The court was told the three accused were allegedly present and a number of mobile phones, electronic devices and electronic scales were found.

A long-handled spoon had suspected white powder on it and other items including ammonia, bicarbonate soda, peroxide and cash were also seized.

Two wraps of "white powder" were recovered from a toilet.

The PSNI also searched a property at Kincora, Ballymena - which police suspected was Iqbal's main residence - and items found included suspected crack cocaine; £18,000 in cash; a 9mm round of ammunition and "suspected offensive weapons".

The PSNI officer said other properties were searched at Clarence Street, Larne Road and Toome Road in Ballymena but nothing was found in those locations.

Meanwhile, the officer said that on March 1 last year Royal Mail intercepted a package at East Midlands Airport which was addressed to Hayes' home.

Over 1,000 grammes of cannabis, said to be worth up to £15,000, was seized.

On July 30 last year Hayes was arrested at his home in relation to the airport find and Iqbal was present.

The police officer said Iqbal had three mobile phones in his possession and £2,700 cash in the pockets of his jacket.

She said police suspected the money was from the sale of drugs "at the property".

A mobile phone was seized from Hayes and "drug supply content" was present with "customers" requesting drugs and Hayes "offering suspected drugs for sale".

The PSNI officer said on the phone Hayes named Iqbal as a "coke dealer" and said that "pure coke" was available any time from "one-ish" and that he is "flat out every day".

It was also claimed that "powder" and "rock" were available and a "customer" said they ordered a tenth of a gramme, the officer told the court.

The police officer said Iqbal said he had been in possession of the round of ammunition for around five years "after receiving it in the post".

At the previous court hearing, a defence barrister said no other ammunition or firearms were found at the Kincora address.

Regarding money found at Kincora, the lawyer said the defendant's family had links to a takeaway in the greater Belfast area and there was "proof" two pandemic recovery grants of £10,000 and £5,000 had been given and the cash was "nothing to do with drug dealing".

That court heard Hayes had 124 previous convictions including drugs offences and Law also had a record.

The officer said there was a "great public interest in drugs activity" at the Queen Street address and there was a "real chance the public could take matters into their own hands".

Meanwhile, in another case Law, with an address listed as Larne Road on that charge sheet, has admitted failing to give information regarding the driver of a vehicle on May 22, 2019.

He denies a charge of aggravated taking of a Volkswagen Golf without the consent of the owner when the vehicle was allegedly driven dangerously at roads including Crebilly Road and Larne Road in Ballymena on May 22, 2019. That case was adjourned to March 24.

  • Main picture: General picture of a saucepan.