An Arlesey drug dealer who lived a "luxurious" lifestyle, which included thousands of pounds worth of Simpsons memorabilia, has been jailed for almost eight years.

John Haylett, of High Street, was sentenced to seven years and 11 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, after Bedfordshire Police’s Operation Costello used an alias on the Encrochat communications network used by criminals.

Messages showed Haylett speaking to other criminals during the COVID-19 pandemic, setting up meetings and exchanges, putting him in a senior position in the illicit drugs trade business.

Supply of illegal drugs fell during the pandemic and lockdowns, which pushed up prices, with the 55-year-old boasting to other drug dealers that he had made a profit of more than £10,000 on certain deals, having made around £3,000 on similar deals before.

The Comet: This large knife was among the items seized from Haylett's home.This large knife was among the items seized from Haylett's home. (Image: Beds Police)

Haylett was arrested at Stansted Airport in January 2022, with a search of his Arlesey home - which had been purchased without a mortgage - finding a collection of memorabilia and artwork from The Simpsons worth thousands of pounds.

Designer trainers and clothing were also seized, while sniffer dogs uncovered more than £40,000 in cash stashed under the floorboards.

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Further incriminating evidence was uncovered by detectives, including a hidden document called 'melting point of cocaine and common adulterants'.

Despite Haylett's lavish lifestyle, HMRC enquiries showed him earning a modest £23,000.

The Comet: Sniffer dogs uncovered £40,000 under the floorboards.Sniffer dogs uncovered £40,000 under the floorboards. (Image: Beds Police)

"Operation Costello has had many successes in its impressive pursuit of serious and organised crime in Bedfordshire," said Detective Superintendent Dani Bailey, who leads Operation Costello.

"The force is incredibly proud to have reached the 400-year milestone for sentences. The high-level drug dealers we have put behind bars must endure the same misery they enacted on our communities.  

"Haylett was typical of so many drug dealers, leading a luxurious lifestyle paid for off the back off a criminal enterprise inextricably linked to violence and exploitation of vulnerable people. 

"These people should be behind bars so if you have suspicions about someone and where they have got their money, please report them."