BREAKING NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

A man who took over a vulnerable man’s Northampton home to sell drugs from it has been jailed for seven years

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Brett James Franks, aged 46, of no fixed address, was arrested on January 6 this year after a man contacted Northamptonshire Police to say Franks had taken over his home, a practice known as cuckooing, and had been selling Class A drugs from the property.

The man said this was ruining his life and had been going on for months, leading officers to immediately visit the man’s home where they found Franks in possession of heroin, crack cocaine, a quantity of Class B pills, a knife and almost £600 in cash.

He was arrested and charged with four offences relating to drug dealing, and on Monday, May 17, he appeared at Northampton Crown Court where he pleaded to guilty to all charges and was immediately sentenced by the presiding judge.

For the charge of possession of heroin with intent to supply, Franks was sentenced to seven years in jail. For possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply, he was given another seven years, to be served concurrently.

For the charge of acquiring/use/possession of criminal property, relating to the £588.52 seized by officers, he was given nine months, to be served concurrently, and for the final charge of possession of Class B drugs with intent to supply, he was sentenced to another nine months, again to be served concurrently.

An order was made for the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and related paraphernalia, as well as a mobile phone and the knife seized.

The £588.52 was also forfeited and will be donated to a Wellingborough charity designated by the court called Service Six. Franks was also ordered to pay a £190 victim surcharge.

Investigating officer PC Sean Whelan, of the Northampton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “It’s very satisfying to see that Brett Franks has admitted to his criminal activity and his significant sentence reflects the seriousness of his offending.

“The man whose home he had taken over came to us in a state of real fear, having been forced to allow Franks into his house and made to endure him dealing drugs there.

“He should have been able to feel safe in his own home, and Franks took that away from him, openly carrying a knife and making him feel desperate and too scared to ask him to leave.

“This case shows how seriously Northamptonshire Police takes any report of drug dealing, and also illustrates our commitment to protecting vulnerable people in our communities.

“If you have any information about similar activity in your local area, or have concerns about anyone who may be vulnerable to cuckooing, please report it to us so we can take action against offenders and provide support to those who need it.”