A drugs dealer who refused to go to the toilet for 16 days to avoid producing the evidence that would convict him has been jailed for 52 months today.

Damien Ankrah, aged 28, was arrested on July 13th on suspicion of transporting heroin by placing the drugs in condoms and placing them inside himself.

Police became even more suspicious when he refused food or drink in his cell at Pembroke Dock police station, west Wales.

An officer was stationed full time outside his cell door and police used special legislation to keep him in custody beyond the normal time limits.

Ankrah began to accept drinks only but after local magistrates granted a further extension of time for his detention on July 17th he started to eat small quantities of food.

But he kept his legs crossed until July 29th, when he finally came clean and produced five bags of heroin.

Ankrah, of Leeds Street, Liverpool, admitted possessing 16.02 grams of heroin, with a street value of £3,200, with intent to supply. It was his third offence for drug trafficking.

David Lindsay, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court that Ankrah's stubbornness took up an "inordinate" amount of police time and resources.

Earlier this year police had arrested a local drugs gang and were on the lookout for new suppliers coming into Pembrokeshire.

When officers spotted Ankrah heading for a house in Fleming Crescent, Haverfordwest, he was arrested.

He told them he did not have any drugs on him and said he would co-operate with a strip search. The drugs were not found and even a police surgeon could not locate them.

However, an examination of Ankrah's mobile telephone revealed text messages "giving a clear indication he had been involved in the supply of heroin."

Officers were convinced he was concealing something in his system and, 16 days later, received their reward.

Ankrah's barrister, Jim Davis, said he client "was a man of some strength and determination" as his refusal to go to the toilet for so long illustrated.

He said both Ankrah's grandmother and mother had been heroin addicts.

"It is not surprising at all, after all that, he's ended up before the court for this type of offence," he added. "He has the potential to make something of himself."

Judge Peter Heywood said Ankrah's refusal to go to the toilet for 16 days - thereby endangering his own life - showed how determined he was to keep the heroin concealed.

"It was rather misguided and it could have been fatal. Had these packages burst he would have found himself at death's door.

"He was fully aware of the consequences because he had prior convictions for drug trafficking offences.

"He had travelled to Pembrokeshire from Liverpool and it is clear he had gone with one intention, which was to sell heroin in the area.

"Having been dealt with twice before he was still willing to take the risk," he added.

Ankrah was jailed for four years and four months, minus 88 days spent on remand awaiting sentencing.

Dyfed Powys Police issued a statement "warning drugs dealers there is no place to hide their illegal substances."

Detective Sergeant Richard Lewis said, "Drug dealers often go to extreme lengths to hide their drugs from police, even placing them inside their bodies.

"However Dyfed Powys Police are warning that even this doesn't mean their drugs will not be discovered.

"Police have lawful powers which enable them to detain a person in custody who is suspected of secreting drugs within their body for as long as is absolutely necessary.

"Dealers go to desperate lengths to stop themselves being arrested and charged.

"However this legislation allows us to keep them in police custody for long periods of time.

"This legislation, which has been used by various agencies throughout the country, has proved invaluable.

"It provides police and the prosecution with the necessary tools to recover controlled drugs that would otherwise be sold on our streets."

Det Sgt Lewis added, "It sends a clear message to drug dealers that there really is no place to hide."