Second-in-command was ‘well thought of’
JOHN Hambleton’s role as second-in-command of a drug dealing empire was at odds with his image as a ‘well thought of’ crown green bowls player.
Hambleton, 48, was brought on board by his step-son Flanagan to help run the ‘graft phone’ from his home on Sutton Close.
He described a ‘volatile’ relationship with Flanagan who paid him £60 every time he used his house.
Hambleton topped up the phone with credit and collected cash from dealers McGuire and Green and the courier Hunter.
When police raided his house last September they found 66.8g of heroin with a street value of £8,000.
Despite having no legitimate income Hambleton ran a Nissan xTrail. Police found £10,000 in unexplained credits to his bank account and £12,000 activity on his online gambling account.
Simon Mills, defending, said: “He has involved himself in class A drugs and paid the price for that. He played a significant role, but was not the leader. He was paid significant sums by Flanagan to use his premises.
“He had a gambling addiction and had fallen prey to get easy money from drugs.
“He was well thought of at his crown green bowling club and suffered significant personal distress while he was on remand because his mother died of cancer. He then missed the funeral because the prison van was stuck in traffic.”