Leeds Pizza Hut worker jailed for ten years over drugs and lethal weapons find

Niyah James.

Niyah James.

A former Pizza Hut employee has been locked up for ten years after police found thousands of pounds worth of class A drugs and lethal weapons at two properties in Leeds.

Officers discovered a stun gun disguised as an iPhone, a fake handgun and an axe along with crack cocaine, heroin and cannabis after carrying out searches at the home of 27-year-old Niyah James.

Leeds Crown Court heard West Yorkshire Police officers executed a firearms warrant at James’s home on Hamilton Avenue, Chapeltown, on June 29 this year.

Class A drugs were seized from the property and an axe was found in James’s car.

Officers also found material linking James to a terraced house on Gilbert Close.

Giles Grant, prosecuting, said that property was searched and it became clear that it was being used as a ‘safe house’ to store drugs and other materials linked to dealing.

Thousands of pounds worth of heroin, crack cocaine and skunk cannabis was seized along with cutting agents including benzocaine and paracetamol.

Thirty mobile phones were also found at the address. Five of them contained messages linking James to supplying drugs.

James was released on police bail but continued to offend.

Officers returned to the father-of-two’s home in Chapeltown on August 24 and seized more heroin and crack cocaine and a stun gun disguised as an iPhone.

Mr Grant said the weapon was tested and found to be capable of producing an electrical charge.

James pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing a class A drug with intent to supply, possessing cannabis with intent to supply, possessing an offensive weapon and possession of a disguised firearm.

Richard Reed, mitigating, said James had worked for Pizza Hut for more than six years and was “highly regarded” by his family, friends and employer.

Mr Reed said James had been in the process of setting up his own online retail business at the time of the offending.

Mr Reed added: “Mr James doesn’t seek to delay the sentencing process by putting forward excuses and arguments in mitigation.

“He accepts that it will be a sentence of some length.”

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier, QC, said: “It is quite clear that you had a substantial role in this particular enterprise.

“You had a very big financial involvement in this and no doubt expected to make large amounts of money.

“You were at the top of this particular organisation.”

After the case, Detective Inspector Jaz Khan, of Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “James was someone clearly involved in the organised supply of drugs in the city and we hope the significant sentence he has received will serve as a stark reminder to those who think they can get away with offences such as these.

“Class A drugs do enormous damage both to the lives of individuals who take them and in our communities where they fuel crime and anti-social behaviour. We will continue to use all available tactics to target those involved in the supply of drugs and keep gathering intelligence from the community and elsewhere to focus our attention on them.”

Leeds Street food

Festival signing off with feast