Cocaine dealer found to be mostly playing Pokémon Go instead of dealing drugs
| Last updated
Police who tracked a cocaine dealer for a year learned he had a wholesome habit alongside his criminal life as most of his movements involved him trying to catch Pokémon.
The operation, which resulted in seven people being convicted, was described as being ‘effective, efficient and well-organised’ and involved the use of multiple mobile phones and numbers from those involved.
Winchester Crown Court heard that Phipps, who was described as a 'fixer' in the operation, served as a middle man in the gang which supplied the class A substance in Andover and Basingstoke between December 2019 and December 2020.
He was caught with £13,350 cash in a carrier bag, which Phipps claimed to police was a wedding gift from his grandmother, as well as a red iPhone which he refused to unlock when he was arrested.
When investigators managed to get into the phone, they downloaded the contact list and found evidence that Prosecutor Robin Leach said was indicative of involvement in drug dealing.
While he was convicted for his crimes, Phipps' barrister Ioana Nedelcu noted that most of the movements police tracked actually involved Phipps playing Pokémon Go.
The popular mobile game allows players to use their phone camera to scan the real world and find Pokémon, which pop up virtually and can be collected.
It's unclear whether Phipps used any of the multiple phones involved in the drugs operation to try and snag some of the virtual creatures, but Nedelcu told Winchester Crown Court those movements were not related to drug dealing.
But not even the rarest of Pokémon was enough to help Phipps escape justice after being caught, and he was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of supplying cocaine and a conspiracy to supply the class-A drug.
Five of the other seven people convicted from the gang have been jailed for more than 20 years.
Judge Nicholas Haggan described the group as having a 'highly sophisticated and well-organised operation’, and told Phipps: "The offences you have committed are so serious that neither a fine alone nor a community penalty can be justified.
"However, having considered your personal mitigations with regard to your health, and the length of time you were waiting for the trial, I order you to a term of five years in prison."