Drug dealer fled Stockport hospital attached to drip

Paul JohnsonImage source, GMP
Image caption,
Paul Johnson was still attached to an intravenous drip when he left Stepping Hill hospital

A drug dealer who escaped police by fleeing a hospital in his underwear with an intravenous drip still attached has been jailed.

Paul Johnson was being investigated by Greater Manchester Police after taking control of a national cocaine supply operation.

He escaped from Stepping Hill Hospital, where he had been admitted, after realising officers were closing in.

Johnson was sentenced to nine years and two months at Manchester Crown Court.

The 42-year-old, of Gowerdale Road in Brinnington, Stockport, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and fraudulently obtaining tax credits.

He was captured by CCTV leaving the Stockport hospital wearing boxer shorts and with the drip clearly visible.

Days later he handed himself in at Cheadle Heath Police Station.

The court heard he had taken over the running of a multi-kilogram Class A drug dealing operation from Beren Marshall, 37, who was jailed last year.

Image source, GMP
Image caption,
Paul Johnson was sentenced to nine years and two months after admitting drug offences

Several other people were convicted as part of the organised crime activity.

At one stage Jonson is thought to have instructed one of the gang to carry out a six-hour journey from County Durham to Brinnington 10 times, before being stopped by motorway police on the A1.

A kilogram of high purity cocaine was discovered in a shoe box in the boot of the car, resulting in two men being arrested.

At another stage in the police investigation, a motorcycle stuffed with £43,000 was intercepted as it was being ridden to Johnson, who was due to collect it in Stockport.

It was the final piece of evidence officers needed, but when they forced entry to Johnson's house, they discovered he was not there.

After police switched their focus to the hospital, he fled.

Supt Emma Taylor, said: "Those in the Brinnington area will know of Paul Johnson and the harm that he has caused to the local area so I'm very pleased to say that he will be in prison and away from our area for a long time."

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