Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Drugs man's 16 day toilet refusal

Damien Ankrah
Damien Ankrah was part of a gang smuggling drugs into Pembrokeshire

A drug dealer who refused to go to the toilet for 16 days to avoid producing the evidence that would convict him has been jailed for 52 months.

Damien Ankrah, 28, put the drugs in condoms and placed them inside himself, Swansea Crown Court heard.

The judge heard that after police in Pembrokeshire arrested him during a drugs operation, he refused to eat for days to avoid going to the toilet.

Ankrah, from Liverpool, admitted possessing heroin.

David Lindsay, prosecuting, told the court - sitting at Swansea Guildhall - that Ankrah's stubbornness took up an "inordinate" amount of police time and resources.

Ankrah was arrested in Haverfordwest on 13 July as part of a police operation uncovering new drugs suppliers coming into Pembrokeshire.

Food refusal

He was held in a police station, where he refused food or drink in his cell.

An officer was stationed full time outside his cell door and powers used to extend his detention.

Ankrah eventually began to accept drinks after local magistrates granted police more time to detain him and on 17 July he started to eat again.

On 29 July he went to the toilet and produced five bags of heroin.

The court heard that when Ankrah was arrested he told officers he did not have any drugs on him and said he would co-operate with a strip search.

No drugs were found, even following an examination by a police surgeon.

But Ankrah's mobile telephone revealed text messages showing he was clearly involved in supplying heroin.

It was rather misguided and it could have been fatal
Judge Peter Heywood

Jim Davis, defending, said his client "was a man of some strength and determination", as his refusal to go to the toilet illustrated.

He added that both Ankrah's grandmother and mother had been heroin addicts.

Judge Peter Heywood said Ankrah's willingness to put his life at risk showed his determination to keep the heroin concealed.

"It was rather misguided and it could have been fatal," he said.

"Had these packages burst he would have found himself at death's door."

Ankrah admitted possessing heroin, with a street value of £3,200, with intent to supply.

It was his third offence for drug trafficking.

Clear message

Following the case, Det Sgt Richard Lewis of Dyfed Powys Police said: "Drug dealers often go to extreme lengths to hide their drugs from police, even placing them inside their bodies.

"However Dyfed Powys Police are warning that even this doesn't mean their drugs will not be discovered.

"Police have lawful powers which enable them to detain a person in custody who is suspected of secreting drugs within their body for as long as is absolutely necessary.

"This legislation has proved invaluable. It sends a clear message to drug dealers that there really is no place to hide."

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