Posted: Tue 2nd Jul 2024

Facial recognition technology helps to identify Deeside drug dealer

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A teenage drug dealer from Deeside has been jailed for county lines drug dealing following the use of facial recognition technology by police in Northwich.

Keenan Hughes, 18, of Connah’s Quay, and Vincent Potter, 19, of no fixed abode, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday, 1 July, where they were sentenced to over five years in prison.

Hughes (top left) received 28 months for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs (crack cocaine) and possession of a knife in a public place.

Potter (top right) was jailed for 34 months for similar charges, including possession of criminal property.

The investigation began in April 2024 when officers became aware of a mobile phone number used by the Kyle County Lines gang to sell drugs locally.

CCTV footage led to the identification of Hughes through facial recognition technology.

On 17 May, officers on patrol spotted Hughes and Potter on Winnington Street in Northwich.

A search revealed Hughes in possession of 99 individual wraps of crack cocaine, worth approximately £990, and a hunting knife.

Potter had two mobile phones, a lock knife, and £960 in cash. Both were arrested for drug offences and knife possession.

During questioning, both men largely remained silent.

However, analysis of one of Potter’s phones revealed messages indicating drug sales.

Despite their silence, they were charged and later sentenced.

Following the hearing, Police Constable Dean Butterworth, of Northwich Proactive Policing Team, said: “This is a great example of how technology can make a real difference in modern-day policing. Hughes was not known in the Northwich area, but thanks to the CCTV footage and facial recognition technology, we were quickly able to identify him as a suspect.”

“As a result of this information and the work of the team here at Northwich Proactive Policing Team, another two drug dealers have been removed from the streets of our town and both men are facing time behind bars.”

“I welcome the sentences handed to the pair and I hope that their conviction provides reassurance to local residents and acts as a warning for any other dealers who are planning to target the Northwich area.”

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