A crack cocaine dealer hired a caravan in Kinmel Bay so he could ply his trade in Rhyl.

Merseyside-based Gerard Derby helped run a county lines drug operation targeting the resort and was jailed for four years and six months at Mold Crown Court.

Despite being caught red-handed by police who were watching his activities at flats in Edward Henry Street, he resumed dealing within two days of being bailed.

Knife-carrying Derby and his associate were selling crack cocaine and heroin in £10 bag deals onto the streets of Rhyl. Mold Crown Court heard that the purity of the crack was extremely high at 86 per cent.

Judge Niclas Parry said it was another example of how “sophisticated criminals from Liverpool” were motivated to travel as they considered North Wales to be an “easy target”.

The judge said: “Criminality and acquisitive crime shoots up because people are desperate to buy drugs and violence ensues.

“The profitability of this operation was such that those involved were happy to pay £200 a week for a temporary home in North Wales.”

And he told Derby: “You were part of something far wider involving organised crime groups and there is real concern about these so-called county lines operations.”

Derby rented a caravan at the Golden Sands Holiday Park so he could conduct his business during October 2017.

But Police were set up in observation as the area is known for the trade in hard drugs in Rhyl.

Derby was chased up a flight of stairs and was found in possession of a lock knife, while his accomplice was found to have 20 wraps of crack cocaine and 20 wraps of heroin with a street value of £400.

Derby had £199 cash and a key to the caravan which police visited and seized mobile phones, scales and more cash.

But prosecuting barrister Mark Connor said the pair were “back at it” two days after their release on bail.

When police executed a warrant at the same property they found Derby with £219 cash and two mobile phones. He told police he had received the money from a family member to get the train home.

Derby, 28, of Radnor Close, Halewood, Merseyside admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.

The court was told he had a previous conviction for possession of heroin and cannabis.