A 22-year-old man caught dealing Class A drugs for the third time was today jailed for almost six years.

Christopher Schofield was arrested after police saw him in a taxi leaving the Birkenhead tunnel on October 17 last year. They followed the vehicle and stopped it near a retail park off the A41 in Birkenhead.

Schofield ran off, dropping a mobile phone as he crossed the central reservation and was seen clutching a tennis ball sized package.

He attempted to get through a hedge surrounding the retail park car park but fell over and was arrested, said Jeffrey Fryar, prosecuting.

The package was found to contain 144 wraps of crack cocaine and 88 of heroin, with a total street value of 2,320.

When arrested Schofield, who had a small amount of cannabis on him, admitted it was the third time he had been arrested for such offences.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Schofield admitted transporting drugs through the tunnel to the Wirral every two or three days for a couple of weeks.

He explained he had to do it to pay off his 2,500 cannabis debt.

Judge Henry Globe, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, sentenced Schofield, of Liberty Street, Wavertree, to a total of five years 220 days.

Schofield had pleaded guilty to posessing crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply and possessing cannabis.