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Reading Crown Court: Lengthy jail term for West Berkshire 'drug deals on wheels' repeat offender

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A ONE-MAN 'cocaine deals on wheels' operator servicing users in West Berkshire towns has been sentenced to almost seven years in prison.

It was the fourth time the father-of-two had been caught peddling the Class A-controlled drug in the area.

He had been brazen enough to keep his operation going into March this year, despite his three previous arrests for supplying Class A-controlled drugs – and while still under investigation for his penultimate bust.

Christopher Finch
Christopher Finch

In the dock at Reading Crown Court on Monday, May 9, was Christopher Finch.

Lisa Goddard, prosecuting, said the 39-year-old was first convicted of supplying cocaine in 2004, when he was jailed for five years.

Then, in 2018, he was sentenced to a further 32 months imprisonment after being caught again.

Lisa Goddard, prosecuting at Monday's sentencing, said that in May 2020, officers followed Finch's Mercedes along the A339 in Newbury to the town's retail park.

Reading Crown Court
Reading Crown Court

There, they witnessed what appeared to be a drug deal and arrested the driver.

Officers found 'deal' bags of cocaine in the footwell.

A subsequent search of Finch's home turned up £1,345 in cash.

He gave 'no comment' interviews to police and initially denied drug dealing, the court heard.

Finch subsequently changed his plea and admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine in Newbury.

But, having been released under investigation, he again returned to his old ways.

Ms Goddard said that, on Thursday, March 24 this year, officers again spotted Finch's Mercedes being driven suspiciously, back and forth in a residential area in Newbury before stopping outside a Co-op store.

Officers found multiple 'deal' bags on him plus £570 in cash.

Julia Macworth, defending, said her client was currently a model prisoner and valued prisoner support volunteer at HMP Bullingdon, Oxfordshire, where he has been on remand.

She said Finch, who lived in Oxford Road, Reading, had "charisma" and a friendly demeanour and added: "This is almost a tragedy for him... he has his own [legitimate] business with which he was supporting his family."

But when the coronavirus pandemic hit profits, he returned to his old ways, the court heard.

Finch was allowed to address the court, saying: "I'd sincerely like to apologise... my customers were friends and they were well-to-do... I didn't think how my actions could affect them, or society."

His latest prison sting had made him realise the damage that drugs can do and, he added: "The stories I've heard have opened my eyes and made me realise how selfish I was."

He vowed to become "a better man in future".

Judge Sarah Campbell sentenced Finch to a total of six years and four months imprisonment, half of which will be served behind bars and the remainder on licence in the community.

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