A 'one-man band' drug dealer who ran a cocaine operation from his Crumpsall flat was caught after boarding the Eurostar to London as he tried to flee the country.

Neil O'Connor, 37, operated his own drugs phone line, as well as adulterating, packaging and selling cocaine and heroin.

He unwittingly sold cocaine to an undercover police officer aiming to bring down drug dealers in north Manchester.

Now he has been jailed for seven years and two months.

"This was a one man band, albeit a fairly involved one man band," Judge Patrick Field QC told O'Connor.

Manchester Crown Court heard that the undercover officer, known as Jay, posed as an addict in Cheetham Hill.

The GMP operation was launched in response to crime associated with drug dealing, and areas becoming 'no-go' zones.

Neil O'Connor

More than 30 criminals have since been jailed thanks to Jay's work.

He came into contact with O'Connor twice in June 2017.

On one occasion, O'Connor told him he dealt 'white', a reference to cocaine, and that he usually 'served up' in Crumpsall Park.

Jay didn't buy any drugs then, but a few days later he bought a £20 bag of cocaine from O'Connor.

By going undercover as an addict, the cop codenamed 'Jay' brought down a series of dealers

Then in February 2018, police searched O'Connor's flat in Crumpsall.

Phillip Hall, prosecuting, told how officers heard noises 'similar to someone jumping over a fence'.

No-one was in the flat, but they found drugs worth about £1,800, including 61 wraps of cocaine and a further 24 wraps of heroin, as well as scales.

In addition five bullets were found within a glove on the sofa.

They were found to be blank cartridges, with some being modified to include a ball bearing. No weapon was found.

A machete and a large knife were also recovered.

O'Connor faced justice at Manchester Crown Court

O'Connor fled the country, and was only arrested almost two years later, in January.

He was apprehended at St Pancras station in London after re-entering the UK via the Eurostar.

O'Connor previously received an indeterminate sentence for public protection for robbery.

His barrister David Bentley said that after being released by the Parole Board, O'Connor was keen to seek more long term employment opportunities.

He had complete a course to become a bouncer, but only learned after that his previous convictions meant he couldn't get a job in that profession.

Mr Bentley said O'Connor became frustrated and became 'tempted by opportunities that were presented to him' by old associates.

"He feels that he could have received greater support when he sought to better himself. He does not advance this as an excuse, far from it," Mr Bentley said.

O'Connor pleaded guilty to six offences, namely two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, two counts of possessing prohibited ammunition, one count of offering to supply cocaine and one count of supplying cocaine.