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Over 100-years behind bars for group in cross-county covert drugs op

Over 100-years behind bars for group in cross-county covert drugs op

Nine people have been jailed for 76 years for their part in a covert drugs operation, spanning across three counties.

Over the course of seven months, officers from the force’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit carried out an extensive investigation into a group of people, who between them were transporting and supplying large amounts of heroin and cocaine in an ‘organised and sustained operation.’

The group was dealing mainly across the Edlington area of Doncaster, transporting high purity Class A drugs from Warrington and Wakefield, through a series of couriers.

On Monday 23 September, three people were found guilty of the offences, following a three week trial involving five defendants.

– Jonathan Knowles, 32, of Cedar Road, Balby, found guilty of conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for seven years.
– Paul Holcroft, 57, of Grace Avenue, Warrington, found guilty of conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for eight years.
-Kirsty Holcroft, 34 of Grace Avenue, Warrington, found guilty of conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. She was jailed for eight years.

Shaun Richardson, 28, of North Avenue, Warrington, was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug while Ryan Swain, 33, of Sheridan Avenue, Doncaster, was found not guilty of transferring criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Six other people who pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing were jailed last Thursday afternoon (26 September), alongside Knowles and the two Holcrofts.
– John Paul Finn, 34, of Aldcliffe Crescent, Balby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for 14 years.
– David Finn, 39, of Cedar Road, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He was handed an eight month suspended sentence.
– Tanvir Khalid, 38, of Newland Court, Agbrigg, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for eight years.
– Amir Hussain, 39, of Newland Court, Agbrigg, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for eight years.
– Gulsher Khalique, 39, of Trinity Street, Agbrigg, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for 11 years.
– Billy James Barton, 33, of Ireland Street, Orford, Warrington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug. He was jailed for 12 years.

Five men have already been jailed for their part in the same conspiracy and were sentenced in 2017:
– Ian Andrew Shaw, 33, of Victoria Road, Edlington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for five years and four months.
– Brain Devanney, 42, of St Johns Road, Edlington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for six years.
– Nigel Darbyshire, 53, of Grainger Close, Edlington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for three years and two months.
– Aaron Cameron, 26, of Clark Avenue, Edlington, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for six years.
– Christopher Peat, 27, of Common Lane, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for four years.
Detective Inspector Mitch Leach, who leads the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said his team carried out extensive work to bring the group before the courts. He said: “Between November 2016 and June 2017, the team worked closely with teams from Doncaster and the Roads Policing Group to observe and disrupt this group, who were identified as involved in a conspiracy to supply large quantities of cocaine and heroin.
“During that time, the team carried out surveillance work, executed a number of warrants and stopped several vehicles, as they gathered evidence to get this case to court.

“John Paul Finn was found to be the leader of the group, primarily based in Edlington, Doncaster. We believe he was in charge of the operation, directing couriers to collect and deliver drugs between Doncaster, Wakefield and Warrington.

“Barton was identified as the supplier from Warrington, while the second source of drug supply was led by Khalique and Hussain in the Wakefield area.
“The case was built around evidence compiled over a number of key dates, where drugs and cash were seized.
“Throughout the investigation, the team stopped cars and carried out warrants, finding extensive amounts of cocaine – with a 90 per cent purity – heroin and also cash. This, accompanied with surveillance work and telephone data, meant they were able to identify everyone involved, arrest and charge them.

“In total, £300,000 worth of cocaine and heroin was seized, along with and £80,000 in cash.
“This was an organised and sustained operation, where the group members were moving large amounts of high purity Class A drugs and selling to members of the public.

“This result is significant, with the group now serving over 100 years behind bars between them, and officers across the unit led by Detective Inspector Graham Bulmer at that time, worked tirelessly to secure evidence to enable this case to progress before the courts.

“No matter how sophisticated or organised a drugs operation may be, or appear to be, our specialist team is committed to identifying those involved, disrupting their organisation and bringing them before the courts to be held to account.”

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