DRUG dealers who wrapped cocaine in lottery tickets and hid up to £11,000 worth in a sofa and sports bags have been jailed.

William Drogman and Thomas Tolliday were caught when police raided Tolliday’s home in Leigh last month.

The police team broke through the front door of the property in Randolph Close and found the two men in the living room on December 10.

As police entered the living room, Tolliday, 27, tried to conceal a red mobile phone down the back of the sofa and a red man bag underneath.

The phone was later found to contain messages linked to drug dealing, and inside the bag was cocaine weighing in at 116 grams, plus lottery tickets that were to be used as wraps for deals.

Drogman was also found to have a phone and five grams of cocaine already wrapped in lottery tickets.

Robert Brown, prosecuting yesterday at Basildon Crown Court, said: “Thomas Tolliday’s bedroom was later searched and a blue sports holdall was found with a further amount of cocaine.

“A white shoebox was also found to contain cocaine, about 2.8 grams.

“The total amount of cocaine that was found in the house was 142.7 grams, believed to be worth between £5,000 and £11,000.

“The two men were arrested where they answered no comment in police interviews.

“This is a case where both of the defendants were planning significantly, the drugs were for financial gain and profit.”

The operation was carried out by Essex Police’s Southend Proactive Team, whose catching of Drogman and Tolliday marked their 498th and 499th arrests as part of their war on drugs.

They made their 500th arrest three days later on December 13.

Shazia Malik, mitigating for Tolliday, said: “This was a case were Tolliday was supplying the drug to which he was addicted.

“Since being in prison he has sought to fight his addiction and has engaged in a personal development programme.

“He has also been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, which I would say is also a mitigating factor. He has an ill mother and he is working to support his two young children.

“He came off the drugs in January 2018, but then he began using them again in the summer and then sought to supply his friends with it to fund his own habits.”

Mike Warren, mitigating for Drogman, said: “Mr Drogman does not have the support of a family and has been out of contact with his mother, father and sister for three years, which has contributed to him going back to drug use.

“He says this was a more concerted effort to try and pay off his drug debt.

“But he went about it in completely the wrong way.”

Sentencing the duo, Judge Andrew Hurst said: “The two of you were caught red handed. You were found with a very significant amount of cocaine.

“However, it is to your credit that you cooperated with the police following your arrest. You saw that the game was up.

“Of course, I must take into account the human impact of these sentences.

“The hardest thing in all of this is how it will affect the children, and I do bare that in mind.”

Drogman, 28, of no fixed address, and Tolliday, 27, of Randolph Close, Leigh, both admitted one count of being concerned in the supply of a controlled class A drug with intent to supply. Judge Hurst sentenced the men to serve two years and four months in jail each, of which they will serve half of and the rest on licence.