A DEALER who was the "regional director" of a drugs line in Southend stashed heroin and cocaine in air vents in his car.

Dane Dacas has been jailed after being exposed as one of the operators of the "Marlow" County Lines operation between London and Southend.

The 29-year-old was found to have dealt heroin and crack cocaine in the borough between October last year and February this year.

Dacas, from Dunsmure Road, London, had set himself up in the borough and also had a property in High Banks, Southend which he used.

The line was intercepted by a joint Essex Police and Metropolitan Police operation where they seized phones which were advertising the drugs.

Basildon Crown Court heard that over an eight day period, more than 500 messages were sent out to 165 people.

Georgia Bayliss, 24, of Verdant Lane, Catford, also also involved in the operation where she operated the phone line from London.

Dacas was arrested in Southend on February 17, after which his property and car in London was searched.

Judge Samantha Leigh told the court: "It's accepted on your behalf that you were running line down here in Southend in south Essex.

"You had 0.2 grams of heroin and 0.8 grams of cocaine.

"There were 150 wraps in the car in the air vent.

"The other defendant was also searched in south London and various items were recovered from there.

"The windows were open and items were deposited outside.

"There were 81 wraps of cocaine and it's said and accepted that Georgia Bayliss was holding the drugs in London and you were the area manager."

Mitigating for Dacas, Mike Warren said he was in a constant spiral of offending and re-offending.

He said: "Many of the problems on the outside have followed him into prison. He has been stabbed five times in prison, he has treatments for PTSD.

"It's extremely significant that he's not yet turning 30 and his looking at another substantial offence.

"He took steps to relocate to the Southend area. His partner fell pregnant and he is the father of a young boy."

Judge Leigh told Dacas: "You were and you are a drug dealer. I accept that you were seriously assaulted in prison and have tried to move away from the drugs world down to Southend."

Dacas was jailed for five years and 219 days.

Bayliss is set to be sentenced the week commencing July 26.