A DRUG dealer who sparked an armed raid at a Bournemouth hotel last month has been jailed for five and a half years.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard how armed police officers had swooped on St Michael's hotel on the resort's West Cliff on the afternoon of Saturday, October 20.

Daniel Smedley, 30, admitted possessing a firearm and possessing prohibited ammunition. He also pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and amphetamines, with intent to supply the class A and B drugs. A not guilty plea to a money laundering charge was accepted.

The raid brought St Michael's Road to a halt, with dozens of onlookers watching the drama unfold. At the height of the incident, which began at about 2 pm, around half a dozen police cars, armed officers and police dogs were on the scene. An ambulance crew was also on standby as the police helicopter circled overhead.

Armed police remained on guard for several hours outside St Mick's Bar which forms part of the St Michael's Hotel building. Scientific officers focused their attention on a first floor hotel room as camera flashes could be seen from outside.

A member of staff told the Daily Echo that a gun and ammunition had been found on a bed in the hotel and a search had been launched for two male suspects.

Residents of the hotel were allowed to come and go and police later told the Daily Echo an investigation was under way after a handgun, drugs and money had been recovered from the hotel. Smedley of Milnow Road, Sheffield, was sentenced by Judge Peter Johnson.

Speaking after the case, DC James Lees said: “This was a great example of diligent policing and working together with the community. As a result a dangerous offender was swiftly brought to justice.

“I hope this sentence serves as a reminder that we will not tolerate such criminal behaviour and I would like to thank the community for their support.”