HARD-WORKING shop fitter David Ogden has been jailed for helping to supply heroin and cocaine after police found him minding a safe house in Wellington.
Ogden left his home in the Wirral after a close relative was jailed for the manslaughter of a young father who was killed in a fight outside a nightclub on Boxing Day 2016.
The notoriety of the case meant he could not find work in Merseyside and took up an offer from friend and drug dealer Joseph Hales to help him run a County Lines operation in Somerset and Devon.
Ogden was found minding the safe house after Hale and fellow drug dealer Kevin Dempsey were stopped in a car as it came off the M5 a few miles away.
They were carrying heroin and cocaine worth £7,250 and Ogden was caught at the house with £135 cash and surrounded by plastic wrapping materials and other paraphernalia of drug dealing.
Messages on his phone showed he had been part of Hale’s drug dealing operation for three months before his arrest in June 2018.
Ogden, 25, formerly of Northbrook Road, Birkenhead, but now of Rock Ferry, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and was jailed for two years and two months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.
Hale, 24, of Rappart Road, Wallasey, and Dempsey, 34, of Aigburth Drive, Sefton, were jailed for six and three years at an earlier hearing.
The judge told Ogden: “You came down with Hale and were holding the fort and preserving the business. Doubtless, Hale and Dempsey would have linked up with you but for your arrests.”
Lee Bremridge, prosecuting, said Hale and Dempsey were arrested as they came off the M5 on June 2, 2018, in a hire car which they had used to fetch drugs from the Liverpool area.
Police raided the house which Hale had been using as a base in Wellington and found Ogden there. Messages on his phone showed he had helping to run Hale’s operation for three months.
Natalie Byrne, defending, said Ogden is a hard-working shop fitter who got into problems with debt after the birth of his baby daughter forced his partner to stop working for a time.
He borrowed money from Hale and was also under pressure from payday loan companies at a time when the notoriety of his family made it hard to work in Merseyside.
Miss Byrne said: “At the time, a relative of his was involved in a very high profile case at Liverpool Crown Court accused of a manslaughter committed in his local area.
“There are very close communities in certain parts of Liverpool. The Ogdens come from Wallasey and the case attracted a significant amount of media interest, and as you would expect, was highly emotive.
“There was some backlash locally to the Ogden name at a time when he was desperately trying to find work and had a young child.
“He has had this hanging over him for two years and has used the time productively. He has moved to Rock Ferry, which may only be six miles, but it has had a positive impact.”