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Pair sentenced for being concerned in supply of cocaine

Photos of the seized drugs and a custody image of Matthew Appleyard
The cocaine seized by police and a custody image of Matthew Appleyard.

A man and a woman have been sentenced after admitting to being concerned in the supply of cocaine over more than two years.

Matthew Appleyard, 31, was jailed and Sapphire Dennis, 30, received a suspended sentence after officers found and seized a large quantity of cocaine.

Appleyard received a prison term of six years and four at Taunton Crown Court (held at North Somerset Courthouse) on Friday 12 January.

Sapphire, of Ford Lane in Ferndown, was handed a two-year suspended sentence at the same court on Wednesday 24 January. She was also ordered to carry out 300 hours’ unpaid work.

Their criminality took place over two-and-a-half years, culminating in Appleyard and Dennis being arrested on 17 July 2023 at his home in Milbourne Port.

During the course of a search of Appleyard’s home, in Combe Hill, officers saw the front door had been strengthened and fortified, seemingly in an effort to increase the difficulty of police forcing entry had that have been required.

Officers seized 210g of cocaine – worth an estimated £17,230 – and more than £42,500 worth of criminal property in forms of vehicles. However, an examination of Appleyard’s phone led to messages being recovered proving his involvement in cocaine supply, which was estimated to be worth five times that amount.

PC Mattie Kasperek said: “These arrests are the results of a long and complex investigation, spearheaded by officers who work day in, day out to target drugs supply across the area.

“Appleyard was the main perpetrator in this criminal enterprise and we are delighted he has received a significant prison sentence. It’s estimated his criminal activity was worth more than £250,000 and a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act in due course will be held to make sure he does not profit from his illegal actions upon his release.

“We will continue to relentless pursue those who seek to profit from other people’s misery and urge anyone with information that can help us in our efforts to please report it to us.”