A POKEMON-playing member of a drug gang who was found with £13,000 in a Morrison's carrier bag has been jailed.

Raymond Phipps was found guilty of being one of seven people who were involved in a drug line selling Class A drugs to users in Andover and Basingstoke between December 2019 and December 2020.

During that time police carried out a surveillance operation, named Operation Tattoo, to identify people who were involved in the supply of drugs in the two towns.

As previously reported, five members of the ‘effective, efficient and well-organised’ crime gang were jailed for more than 20 years in December 2022.

They were Terry Hall, Darren Bryant, Saran Man Uam, David Ratcliff and Carla Porter.

A sixth person, Howard Jones, also pleaded guilty to the charges. An eighth man, Kieron Young, was charged and dealt with separately before police found that they were all part of a drug line.

At Winchester Crown Court on Friday, February 17, Phipps was jailed for five years after he was previously found guilty of being concerned in the supply of and a conspiracy to supply of cocaine.

READ MORE: Basingstoke and Andover gang who dealt cocaine jailed

Phipps was first arrested at his home in Colver Close, Basingstoke, on November 12, 2020.

Officers searched his house, and in his bedroom, a red iPhone was found and seized.

The court heard that although he refused to provide a pin to unlock the phone, police recovered his contact list which had five numbers relating to Bryant, two numbers relating to Hall, one number relating to Man Uam, and the drug line.

Prosecutor Robin Leach said that some messages were indicative of involvement in the supply of drugs.

His call data also established extensive communication with those who were involved in the drugs line, notably with Hall and Bryant.

Police also seized a Morrison's carrier bag containing approximately £13,350 in cash. The 41-year-old claimed that the money was a wedding gift from his grandmother, but the prosecution said ‘the bag was full of Hall’s fingerprints’.

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Mr Leach told the court that Phipps was a middleman in the hierarchy of drug line, otherwise known as a 'fixer', with Bryant and Hall at the top, followed by Man Uam, then Young and then Phipps, placing him above Ratcliff and Porter.

In mitigation, Ioana Nedelcu told the court that Phipps and Bryant were childhood friends and most of their communication was not crime related.

She also said that most of the movements observed by police of Phipps during the surveillance were in fact him playing Pokémon, and he was out ‘collecting’ the creatures.

Ms Nedelcu added that Phipps did not receive a financial advantage from the operation, compared to the other members of the gang.

In sentencing, Judge Nicholas Haggan said it was a highly sophisticated and well-organised operation which involved the use of multiple mobile phones and numbers.

Jailing Phipps, the judge said: “The offences you have committed are so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community penalty can be justified.

“However, having considered your personal mitigations with regard to your health, and the length of time you were waiting for the trial, I order you to a term of five years in prison.”