Hermes driver who made drug drops alongside deliveries caught with £17,000 of heroin

Thomas James used his Hermes van to deliver drugs on at least six occasions. (Wales News Service)
Thomas James used his Hermes van to deliver drugs on at least six occasions. (Wales News Service) (WALES NEWS SERVICE)

A Hermes courier who used his van to deliver drugs while at work and was caught with more than £17,000 of heroin stashed in his vehicle has been jailed.

Thomas James, 35, tried to evade police after he was stopped at the Pont Abraham services on the M4 in Cross Hands, South Wales.

He wriggled out of his hi-vis delivery jacket as he attempted to flee, causing a police officer to fall to the ground and suffer injuries.

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Once he was detained, James refused to provide a PIN number for his phone, but an investigation using automatic number plate recognition discovered he had carried out six separate trips to deal drugs.

Swansea Crown Court heard how James, from Llanddarog, Carmarthenshire, was already a heroin user while working for Hermes.

Thomas James stopped by police
James looked nervous as police stopped him and asked to search his van at an M4 service station. (Wales News Service) (Wales News Service)

But after being approached by a third party, he decided to embark on a "commercial arrangement" to transport money to Newport and bring drugs back. He would be paid £200 and half an ounce of heroin for the service.

PC Grant Limebear said James appeared nervous and tried to walk around the rear of his Ford van when stopped off the M4.

As he became caught in a melee with the policeman trying to arrest him, more officers arrived at the scene and he was taken into custody.

James pleaded guilty to possession of a quantity of diamorphine with intent to supply, being concerned in the supplying of diamorphine, and assaulting PC Limebear in the execution of his duties.

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Sentencing him to three years and six months in prison, Judge Thomas said: "You physically resisted and caused injury to the officer's elbow and finger. I have no doubt that you acted in panic, but that is no excuse.

"Heroin brings untold misery to users and their families. You come from an affluent, supportive family and you went into this enterprise with your eyes wide open."

James appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a proceeds of crime application and was told he must repay £4,200, £140 of which is already in police possession.

Judge Thomas issued a three-month deadline for him to pay the cash, and a three-month prison sentence in default if he failed to pay.