56 people sentenced for drug trafficking across South West England

12/10/2017

Fifty-six people have been sentenced for their parts in a drug trafficking operation across South West England.

The group was involved in open drug dealing on the streets of Taunton, Bridgwater and Glastonbury, selling heroin and cocaine.

They were caught during a four month undercover police operation after concerns were raised by local residents about drug dealing and drug taking in the areas.

The defendants were drug runners, directing the undercover officers to the people who could supply them drugs or delivering the drugs themselves, known as cuckooing or running county lines.

Main dealers sent ‘line managers’ into the towns where they recruited these local residents, some of whom were addicts themselves, to deliver the drugs.

They were sentenced in three hearings at Bristol Crown Court, with the final sentencing taking place today.

James Ward, from the CPS, said: "The 56 defendants involved in this case were responsible for the supply of drugs around the South West having been recruited by dealers in big cities. Prosecuting these people and stopping the onward supply of drugs reduces crime and protects all sections of the community.

"The CPS will prosecute those who engage in the supply of drugs whether they be the vulnerable homeless drug addict supplying to pay off a drug debt, the young person who does it for a quick buck or the main stream commercial dealer expecting significant financial gain.

"Use of illegal drugs in our society creates acquisitive crime against innocent people, ruins lives and brings violence, fear and death to our communities. Prosecuting suppliers ensures drug suppliers are properly punished and rehabilitated so they cease their criminal activities and others are deterred from behaving in a similar manner."

The CPS continues to work with the police in catching and prosecuting those responsible for supplying illegal drugs.

Notes:

  • James Ward OBE is a Crown Advocate for CPS South West
  • Simon Williams, Aaron Nightingale, Victor Cowlin, Aaron Geddes, Gary Harrop, Lee Deacon, Benjamin Hancock all pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs
  • Simon Williams and Mark Cripps pleaded guilty to permitting premises to be used for the supply of Class A drugs
  • Shannon Baker, Natasha Butts, Aisha Finegan, George Betteridge, Philip Fieldhouse, Benjamin Hancock, Leanne Arthington, Catherine Wooldridge, Ian Archer, Ryan Clark, Matthew Farmer, William Rogers, Alexander Turner, Aaron Anderson, Danny Vincent, Liam Martin, Lee Fisher, Stuart Chivers, Daniel Osborne, Shay Kerrigan, Joshua Thomson, Jason Walls, Kai Sidhu, Daniel Chant, Mark Sharkey and Diana Roper pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs
  • Philip Shaw, Rodney Strudwick, Kyle Pople, Alexander Parsons, Colin Martindale and Stephen Warren pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs
  • Nicholas Milton and Stacey Gunningham pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and Possession With Intent to Supply Class A drugs
  • Calum Sheppard pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs, possessing a hunting knife, possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, possessing Class A drugs, domestic criminal damage, driving not in accordance with a driving licence and driving without insurance
  • James Briggs, Connor Mitchell, Alexander Bancroft-Brooks, Dale Simpson, Joanne Danes, Robin Wines, Henry Smedley, Daniel Westcott, Yunis Jeffers, Sarah Hewitt, Romario Marcantuono and Sheldon Riddle pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs
  • Teresa Jordan pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property.