Saturday, 19 September 2009

Stephen Hawken, aged 48, was jailed for 11 years at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday after being described as "high up the tree" of dealing Class A drug

Stephen Hawken, aged 48, was jailed for 11 years at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday after being described as "high up the tree" of dealing Class A drugs in the city.
Speaking after sentencing, detectives who uncovered Hawken's secret arsenal described him as "an extremely dangerous man" who was a key figure in supplying cocaine and amphetamine to Plymouth's streets.His arrest came after a dramatic three-hour siege involving armed police at Hawken's exclusive Derriford property last November, ending only when he was shot with a baton round and Taser.
The court heard how shaven-headed Hawken had hidden parts of his guns everywhere from his coffee machine to behind the walls of his plush house in the private Delgany Drive.Thousands of pounds worth of drugs were found buried in next door's garden and a shotgun was found in a container on land near the house, the court heard.Prosecutor Jo Martin said Hawken's arrest was triggered by a separate drugs raid at a house in Warwick Avenue, Whitleigh.Officers seized amphetamines – but cocaine belonging to Hawken was not found, prompting he and another man to go to the address and recover it.Ms Martin told the court how they had gone back to Delgany Drive and buried the drugs, along with a cutting agent, in a garden belonging to Hawken's next door neighbour.The plastic container – covered in Hawken's fingerprints – was eventually found by a sniffer dog after the siege, she said.
The court heard how, on November 12, police swooped on the property and found a Taurus 9mm handgun and a stun-gun inside, the handgun disassembled and stashed in parts all over the house.Behind a double oven was the body, while the spring was found in the bottom of a gas fire and the 9mm barrel in Hawken's bar.
An empty pistol magazine was found behind plasterboard in his utility room, the court heard, and the top part – along with the stun-gun – were found in his wall-mounted coffee machine.There was ammunition behind the kitchen sink and 113 bullets soaking in oil – a process that maximises their performance – in Hawken's garage.
He told police in interviews that he knew nothing about the weapons, Ms Martin said, claiming they belonged to the previous owner of the house.
But the court heard how police widened their search after realising the extent of the haul and found a container on nearby land belonging to Hawken.
Inside was a shotgun, complete with ammunition.
Hawken's weapons were so well hidden, the court heard, that as recently as May a plumber working on a toilet in the house – which has since been repossessed – discovered another pistol magazine, this time containing seven live bullets.
Ms Martin told Judge Francis Gilbert QC that the guns and drugs combined showed Hawken had "high involvement in the Plymouth drugs scene".
She said: "They were all part of Stephen Hawken's armoury, to keep him high up the tree in the drugs scene.
"He was some way up the chain of command."
Hawken, wearing a shirt, jacket and jeans, appeared nervous as he sat in the dock fidgeting and making eye contact with the dozen or so family and friends there to support him.
He had been due to face trial but entered last-minute guilty pleas to seven of the nine counts against him.
They included possessing a class B drug – 345g of one per cent amphetamine – with intent to supply and a class A drug – 1,011g of nine per cent cocaine – also with intent, as well as possession of a stun gun, a handgun, a double-barrelled over-and-under shotgun, and ammunition without certificates.
The court heard how he had collected a string of convictions for drugs and firearms offences over the last two decades, already serving prison sentences totalling nine and a half years.
They date back to 1986 when, aged just 23, Hawken was caught in possession of a shotgun and ammunition without a certificate.
Since 1995 he has been convicted of possessing more ammunition, cannabis, amphetamines, MDMA and £20,000 in counterfeit currency.
Llewellyn Sellick, for Hawken, said his client deserved credit for his guilty plea, albeit last-minute.
"It was somewhat courageous of him to face reality," he said.
Mr Sellick told the court how, since last being released from prison, Hawken had built up a "thriving" company – Ace Plant Hire – and employed between six and eight people, subcontracting many more.
He had purchased his luxury house and won a number of large contracts, including working on a city police station.
But a developer Hawken was working with in Mannamead went bust in October last year, the court heard, owing him £100,000.
Since his arrest, Mr Sellick told the court, Hawken had lost both his home and his company.He said: "It was in the autumn of 2008 that things went terribly wrong.
"This is a man who had done considerably well – he's now gone right back to zero again."He added that the stun-gun found by police was missing a prong and a battery, meaning it would not have worked.Hawken was also charged with five fly-tipping offences between January 17 and February 23 last year.The court heard how building materials from a site in Stonehouse his firm was working at had been dumped in Dartmoor beauty spots.
A wood in Bickleigh, a car park in Roborough Down and an area near Meavy were among those littered in rubble, which included large wooden doors.
The mess cost more than £1,600 to clear up.



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