FOUR people have been jailed for a total of more than 10 years after police uncovered a drugs den with a large amount of drugs buried in the garden.

Basildon Crown Court heard how officers from the South Operation Raptor team went to the home of Claire Rayer in Victor Mews Close, Wickford in December, 2016.

As they approached, they saw Lee Oaker, 40, leave the flat and approach a VW Golf linked to the supply of drugs.

Oaker, of Rettendon View, Wickford was found to have drugs including five wraps of crack cocaine, two wraps of heroin and a mobile phone linking him to drug supply.

Officers then went inside the flat where they found 33-year-old Claire Rayer who began loudly shouting that police were in the premises in a bid to alert others to their presence.

Officers searched the garden and noticed a foot, belonging to 21-year-old Ashley Alexis, sticking out from beneath a fence.

Alexis, of Brownlow Road, Hackney, tried to jump over the fence but was tackled by PC Dan Onley. He was found with cash, a mobile phone linking him to drug supply and two wraps. Officers then searched the garden and found a lock knife, bags containing 90 wraps of crack cocaine and 22 wraps of heroin.

Alexis was arrested and was found to be concealing another three wraps of heroin in his jacket and £380 cash in his pants.

In April last year officers secured a warrant to further search the home of Rayer. As they approached the flat they saw 20-year-old Harry Joy leave the property and carry out a drug deal. Officers raided the property and arrested Rayer and Joy, who had a seven inch knife concealed in his trousers.

Rayer admitted two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and two counts of permitting premises to be used for the supply of Class A drugs. She was jailed for four years.

Oaker was convicted of two counts of conspiring to supply a Class A drug. He was jailed for two years six months.

Alexis admitted to two counts of conspiring to supply a Class A drug and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

Harry Joy of Hornbeam Close, Norwich, admitted two counts of supplying Class A drugs. He was sentenced to two years in a Young Offenders Institute.

PC Dan Onley said: “There is no doubt Rayer was allowing her property to be used for the supply of class A drugs.

“Not only did we find three drug dealers to be operating from her home but we also found a significant amount of drugs buried in the garden.

“Fortunately we removed those drugs before they could reach the streets and have locked up all four individuals for a significant time.”