A mum and daughter-run drug line was shut down after specialist officers were able to link them to the sale of illicit drugs in Basildon. Melanie Hobbs, 42, and Keani Hobbs, 23, ran the cocaine and cannabis operation from their home, in Eastbrooks Place, Pitsea. They also used a bank account belonging to Jack Pollard into which some customers paid for their drugs. As a result of being able to link them to the sale of drugs, officers from the Op Raptor south team executed a warrant at their home in the early hours of September 9, 2021. As officers entered the home through the back, they passed high value goods such as a hot tub and a sun tanning machine.
Once they entered, Jack Pollard, now 19, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both Melanie Hobbs and Keani Hobbs were not in the home. It was then quickly established that Keani Hobbs had stayed away from the home on that night and Melanie Hobbs was due to arrive home later that day from a honeymoon in Gran Canaria. Keani Hobbs arrived at the house soon after and was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs. Officers then travelled to Stansted later that day to arrest Melanie Hobbs once she disembarked the aircraft. She was arrested on conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs.
During a search of the house, officers found extensive drug dealing messages on a phone belonging to Pollard as well as a large amount of prepared cocaine wraps worth about £1,000 and cocaine preparation paraphernalia such as spoons, scales and lottery tickets. More than £505 was also found in a red Nike shoebox. Officers also discovered about £1,500 worth of cocaine inside an iPhone 7 phone box.
During the search of the home, officers also located three canvas pictures of young children surrounded by, and playing with, large amounts of cash.
Other items also indicated the Hobbs’ were living far beyond their means and were flaunting their criminal lifestyles.
Officers found a £4,399 hot tub, a £2,000 tanning booth, a £620 Samsung TV, a £679 quad bike, a £500 Outback gas BBQ, £950 worth of Yankee Candles, a PlayStation 5 worth £599 and a pair of £190 wireless Beats headphones.
The £2,000 tanning booth which was found in the home
During a later search of Melanie Hobbs once she was in custody, officers found an iPhone 12 which officers had already linked to drug dealing.
On that phone, officers found a large-scale ‘tick list’ of customers, some of whom had paid up to £2,000.
Melanie Hobbs and Keani Hobbs were charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and Pollard was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
The trio admitted the charges and appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday 4 March to be sentenced.
Melanie Hobbs was sentenced to a total of 49 months in jail.
Keani Hobbs – who was also recalled to prison for a previous conviction for the manslaughter of Vilson Meshi, in Pitsea, in February 2016 – was sentenced to a total of 43 months in jail.
Pollard, of Wicklow Walk, Shoebury, was handed 23 months in prison, suspended for 24 months. He was also ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.
All of the drugs, cash and items discovered were seized and will form part of a future proceeds of crime hearing.
PC Daniel Olney, a specialist officer with Op Raptor South, led the investigation.
“From the expensive items seen at the home, it was clear Melanie and Keani Hobbs were living well beyond their means.
“They were flaunting their criminal lifestyles and were clearly also bringing up children in this appalling illicit lifestyle.
“Pollard was a knowing participant in their operation and allowed his bank account to be used as a payment option for users.
“What they didn’t know was that while the carried out their criminal acts, we were building a strong, incontestable case against them and they had no option but to admit their guilt.
“Both Melanie and Keani Hobbs will now have a sustained period behind bars to consider their actions.”
Our Op Raptor teams work across the county to target those intent on supplying drugs in our communities.
We take a remorseless approach towards drug dealers in Essex and we have been consistently clear that drugs and drug dealers are not welcome in our county.
2016 CASE KEANI
TWO teens have been found guilty of killing a dad-of-three by throwing a marine distress flare into his car as he slept.
Vilson Meshi, 30, died in temperatures of up to 1,300C in the back of his Audi A4 on February 26 last year in Pincey Mead, Pitsea.
Keani Hobbs, 18, of Stagden Cross, Pitsea, and a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had previously stolen six flares from a boat at Wat Tyler Marina and were roaming the streets of Basildon at 2am looking for more things to steal.
The teens, then 17 and 15 years old, opened the passenger side door of the Audi and removed the keys and Mr Meshi’s iPhone.
During a four-week trial at Basildon Crown Court, jurors were told Hobbs said “oh f*** it” before lighting the flare and throwing it into the car.
Mr Meshi, who had travelled down from Manchester to see two of his children, was found in the locked car the following afternoon. He had died from smoke inhalation.
Hobbs and the boy denied manslaughter and stealing the flares. During the trial, the boy gave evidence, blaming Hobbs.
Hobbs did not give evidence but denied any involvement in the incident. The pair were convicted on the basis that they knew, or could have foreseen, that someone was in the car.
Speaking outside court, Det Chief Insp Stephen Jennings, said Mr Meshi’s family were pleased with the verdict.
He said: “They are happy with the decision but they are obviously still devastated by Mr Meshi’s death.
“The jury came to the right decision, it’s the right result for the family.
“What took place was a very foolish and dangerous act that cost Vilson Meshi his life. The basis of the conviction is that they knew, or could foresee, the likelihood of him being in the car.”
He added: “This was a complex investigation and we have been determined to find the truth behind the events that led to Mr Meshi’s tragic death.
“Keani Hobbs and the teenage boy consistently denied any involvement and blamed each other during the trial.
Hobbs and the boy were allowed to sit in the well of the court during the trial but were moved to the dock when the jury came back after three days.
Hobbs wiped away tears before they came into the room, but neither she nor the boy showed any emotion as the unanimous verdicts were read out.
Judge Patricia Lynch said she will sentence the pair tomorrow and remanded them both into custody.