Man wanted over £300K drugs seizure found in wardrobe

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A man hunted for four months over a £300,000 cocaine seizure in Newtownabbey, was found hiding in a wardrobe, the High Court heard today.

Gerard Hall wouldn’t come out for nearly half an hour after being tracked down by police investigating the discovery of drugs, a gun and bullets at his flat, prosecutors said.

Details emerged as the 33-year-old accused was refused bail.

Hall, currently of no fixed address, faces nine charges including possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply, having a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances, and possession of a prohibited weapon.

He is further accused of failing to stop for police and encouraging or assisting an offence by having the cutting agent benzocaine.

Hall allegedly drove off at speed, forcing police to jump out of the way of his car, after officers arrived at his rented flat on June 22 last year.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said searches of the property recovered stashes of cocaine with up to 87% purity, herbal cannabis, sets of scales and suspected dealing bags.

A fingerprint on a bag containing some of the drugs allegedly connects the defendant.

Due to the high purity of the cocaine and the associated cutting agent the drugs have an estimated street value of £300,000, the court heard.

During a second search the following day police recovered a 9mm pistol and 10 rounds of ammunition in the attic.

Two stun guns were located in the kitchen and bedroom of the property.

Police were unable to locate Hall until he was tracked down to an address on the Springfield Road in west Belfast in October.

“He was hiding in a wardrobe and ignored repeated requests to come out for 25 minutes,” Ms Pinkerton said.

Defence counsel argued that Hall should be released from custody due to the delay in progressing the case.

She also contended that her client had not attempted to go anywhere further than Belfast.

But denying bail, Mr Justice Burgess ruled there was a substantial risk of flight.

The judge also pointed out: “He knew police were looking for him, it would have been perfectly easy to surrender himself.”