A 'LOVE cheat' tattoo parlour boss turned cocaine conspirator was already a known street fighter and convicted drug dealer, a court heard.

Gareth Pegler of Saxon Way, Wychbold, near Droitwich admitted his role in cocaine and cannabis conspiracies and will face sentence at Worcester Crown Court in a two day hearing next year.

He is expected to appear alongside other conspirators who have either admitted their role in the scheme or who were convicted of involvement in various drug-related plots on Thursday following a trial.

Those facing prison sentences include Gareth Pegler's older brother, Darren Pegler, 40, of Coronation Road, Kidderminster, who also ran a bouncy castle business (Kong's Castles) and was also involved in a cannabis grow near Worcester, telling a jury he was only there to fix the washing machine; his brother-in-law Karl Browning, 42, of Hurcott Road, Kidderminster who claimed he thought he was delivering £19,000 of car parts, not cocaine to Ilfracombe in Devon; and his partner Sinead Lavelle, 33, of Saxon Way who ran drugs errands for the father of her children during the County Lines operation.

Gareth Pegler has already admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, a class A drug, between January 1, 2018 and June 1, 2020 and conspiracy to supply and produce cannabis, a class B drug, between January 1, 2018 and June 1, 2020. In total his phone was shown to travel down to the Devon 26 times, most of the trips at night. The prosecutor was to say in his opening: "They weren't trips to a popular holiday destination."

Cannabis grows were found at a bungalow in Orchard Way in Leigh, near Worcester, in a room about Forty Fathoms Aquatics in Kidderminster and at an address in Queen Elizabeth Road, also in Kidderminster as the net closed on the dealers.

Gareth Pegler was the man under police surveillance as officers gathered evidence. He was seen and photographed collecting from a house in Rubery what the prosecution said was 3kg in cocaine. In one message, read out in court, a kilo of cocaine was said to be worth around £35,000. He was also pictured wearing gloves outside the cannabis grow in Leigh with his brother and brother-in-law.

During the investigation Pegler was arrested in Bristol with a bucket full of cannabis on March 10 last year. His 'man in Devon', Michael Carey, who has also already admitted the cocaine conspiracy, was raided and found to have nearly £19,000 in cash in his house.

We can now reveal further details of Gareth Pegler's criminal past, referred to by Tim Harrington who prosecuted the trial.

In his cross-examination of Browning, Mr Harrington said that Gareth Pegler had been imprisoned for drug dealing in 2011 (possession with intent to supply amphetamines) which led to an 18 month prison sentence. He also had a conviction for possession with intent to supply cannabis.

Browning said he thought Pegler's conviction was 'for fighting'. Browning had told jury he 'didn't know' about any of his brother-in-law's drugs convictions and added: "It wasn't discussed in front of me."

"I knew he had a bit of a reputation for fighting" said Browning.

Lavelle, who has two children with Gareth Pegler, revealed in her evidence in chief that she was in a volatile relationship with him which was 'on-off' and 'mainly off'.

She told the court he had had assaulted somebody in Bewdley, a case we covered in the Worcester News more than a decade ago.

We reported in 2010 how Pegler, then 27, headbutted his victim to the ground and then kicked and stamped on his head which led to the attacker being jailed for five and a half years.

The victim was left with bleeding behind the conjunctiva of both eyes. X-rays showed a fracture of the left side of his jaw, which meant he needed to be referred to a maxillofacial unit for a metal plate to be screwed into his face.

He needed stitches inside his mouth and in the roof of the mouth to repair tissue that had been torn in the attack, which happened in Load Street, Bewdley, on the evening of Sunday, March 28, 2010.

Recorder David Jones, in his summing up, described Pegler as a man with “a formidable record for public violence”.

Lavelle said Pegler was later recalled to prison for that Bewdley attack following an attack upon her. She was asked if they argued much and replied: "All the time."

She described Pegler as 'cheating on me left, right and centre', suspecting him of having an affair with an apprentice at the tattoo shop. Asked if she trusted Pegler, she replied 'no'.

Lavelle said of Pegler: "I always felt like I was walking on eggshells."

One attack, she said, left her with 'a big black eye' but she had not reported that attack to police, she told the jury.

"He used to pester me all the time for money" she said. She said she never had anything to do with his tattoo shop and that she did not believe they were together when he opened it.

"I went there one day to smash it up" she said. When asked why she said: "Because I knew he was sleeping with a girl he was tattooing."

As a result she said she had been 'banned' from his shop. However, she also described him as 'a brilliant dad'.

The sentence of all defendants is expected to take place at a date to be fixed at Worcester Crown Court in the New Year.