MEMBERS of a drug dealing from Colchester have been convicted of covering for a teenager who murdered a man in an alleyway.

Daniel Saunders, 32, died after being knifed in the abdomen in Trinity Street, Ipswich, in December by a 17-year-old drug runner working for a Class A supply organisation called Rico and Frank.

The killer - who cannot be named for legal reasons but is from Bury St Edmunds - and Benjamin Gosbell, of Gratian Close, Colchester, had cuckooed the flat of a vulnerable man in Ipswich to use as one of their bases.

After the teen killed Mr Saunders - who was attempting to buy drugs from him with a friend - he and Gosbell fled to a Premier Inn in Colchester where they met Arjun Jadeja, of The Nook, Wivenhoe, a 17-year-old boy from Colchester and a 16-year-old from Bury St Edmunds.

The hotel was being used as another base for the drug line and was where the killer's clothes were disposed of and he was cleaned up.

Olusola Durojaiye, of Appleton Mews, Colchester, acted as the group's driver and had previously driven some of them to Southend to buy knives as they tried to protect themselves from the threat of being robbed.

They believed another runner had been targeted by Mr Saunders and his friend in the days before.

Durojaiye's people carrier was used to ferry the two Bury St Edmunds teens to a holiday park in St Osyth where Jadeja's family owned a caravan.

He, Gosbell and the 17-year-old from Colchester met them there and they stayed holed up for a few days.

Detectives eventually arrived and saw the killer and the other teenage boys get into a taxi.

Armed officers stopped it a short distance away where the killer had a sword stuffed in his trouser leg and the Colchester teen had a machete.

The 17-year-old from Bury St Edmunds was convicted of murder following a six week trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Jadeja, 18, Gosbell, 20, Durojaiye, 33, and the other two teens where convicted of assisting an offender.

They will be sentenced in October. The killer, Gosbell and Jadeja have been remanded in custody until then.

Det Chief Insp Mike Brown said: "Daniel had sadly become addicted to Class A drugs, the purchase of which has seemingly become more dangerous for the addicts, as they are buying from people who regularly arm themselves with weapons in the event of any disagreement.

"What was even more startling about Daniel’s murder, was that his assailant was just 17 years-old, and three of those who assisted him were aged 18 or under – with the youngest being 15 at the time of the incident.

“Although all of the defendants are old enough to know right from wrong, the pattern we are seeing all too frequently is that of teenagers being drawn into the dangerous world of drugs supply, which is presented to them as somewhat glamorous and a way to easily earn sizeable sums of cash.

“What they need to be acutely aware of is that what they are doing is illegal and rarely ends well, as by dealing drugs and carrying weapons they are putting themselves into situations that will often spiral out of control. It is also unlikely to take them long to come to the attention of police.