DRUG dealers who set up their “business” on WhatsApp have been locked up after officers raided their homes, finding heroin stashed inside a tuna tin.

Joshua Mitchell and Dillon Jules were handed five years and seven months each in jail after admitting a string of drugs charges.

Mitchell, of St Mary’s Court, Southend, and Dillon, of Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath discussed how they would set up their own drugs line on messaging app WhatsApp.

They then began sending advertising messages to drug users in March, having initially set up the operation in January.

However, the pair were shut down by specialist officers within just six months.

Officers from the Op Raptor South team were able to quickly link the line to the pair and carried out co-ordinated arrests on them on June 16.

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Op Raptor South investigator Jemma Matlin said: “Mitchell and Jules had hoped to go into business together, recruit workers and supply Class A drugs onto the streets of Basildon.

“However, I am glad to say their business never really got off the ground.

“The case against both of them was so overwhelming that they could not deny the charges against them and they will both spend a considerable time in prison.”

During searches of their homes, officers found a tuna tin containing 13 wraps of heroin. In a separate pot, there were 35 wraps of crack cocaine.

While the team also found a tin containing herbal cannabis, £500 in cash, a lock knife and other drug paraphernalia.

Mitchell, 26, and Jules, 38, both admitted one count of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and two counts of possession of a Class A drug with intent.

They appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday to be sentenced.

All drugs and drug paraphernalia seized will also be destroyed while all cash found has been forfeited.