A KEIGHLEY drugs dealer who carried on supplying an undercover police officer after his home was raided has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Hamza Ali, 21, was described in court as the main man behind the so-called “Jake line” which was uncovered by police during Operation Saucerlake in Keighley last summer.

The police operation, involving the deployment of an undercover officer, was started after residents and councillors expressed their concerns about Class A drug dealing in the town.

Ali, of Skipton Road, was locked up yesterday for a series of drugs offences spanning a four-month period.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Ali, who had no previous convictions for drug offences, had already supplied Class A drugs to the test purchase officer when other officers raided his home on August 15.

During a search of the house police recovered heroin and crack cocaine valued at about £5,000 as well as dealing equipment such as scales, plastic bags, scissors and a dust mask.

Prosecutor Paul Nicholson said a phone found on Ali had the same number as the “Jake line” and he described the defendant as “the main man” behind that dealer line.

The court heard that the undercover officer was supplied drugs on 14 occasions through that line and Ali had been involved in ten of them.

All the dealing took place near Ali’s home and on one occasion it happened in the vicinity of a school during school hours.

Ali was bailed following the raid on his home, but Mr Nicholson revealed that within two weeks of the phone and other items being seized he was again dealing to the undercover officer.

After his arrest for drug dealing, Ali claimed that he had turned from being a user to a supplier to pay off his own drug debts.

In mitigation, his barrister Ken Green told the court that pressure was being put on Ali and his family and at one point his client’s older brother suffered a broken arm after being attacked.

“He would maintain, and does maintain, that his primary motive was to meet those debts he ran up at the time he was a significant user,” submitted Mr Green.

He said Ali was acutely aware of the disgrace and shame he had brought on his family.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said the seriousness of the offending resulted in a jail sentence of seven years but Ali’s early guilty pleas to possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, supplying Class A drugs and being concerned in drug supply, entitled him to a reduction of about one third which meant the sentence was one of four-and-a-half years.

Referring to other men who had already been sentenced as part of Operation Saucerlake, Judge Thomas said Ali’s case was “at the very top of the pinnacle” of what was happening in Keighley last year.

He noted that the separate police operation which led to the raid on Ali’s home had not brought him up short and he had continued to run “Jake line” after being given bail.