Gang jailed for over 100 years for £380,000 drugs operation across three counties

A gang have been jailed for over 100 years for a cross-county drugs operation (Photo: SYP)
A gang have been jailed for over 100 years for a cross-county drugs operation (Photo: SYP)

A gang has been jailed for over 100 years for a drugs operation spanning three counties - South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Cheshire.

The group were caught transporting and supplying high purity Class A drugs from Wakefield and Warrington into Doncaster in an operation which ran between November 2016 and June 2017.

South Yorkshire Police's Serious and Organised Crime Unit investigated the group for over seven months and seized £300,000 worth of cocaine and heroin and £80,000 in cash.

Working with the Roads Policing Group, the force observed and disrupted the drugs ring and identified the individuals involved.

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On Monday, September 23 three people were found guilty of conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug after a three-week trial.

Jonathan Knowles, aged 32, of Cedar Road, Balby, was jailed for seven years.

Paul Holcroft, 57, of Grace Avenue, Warrington and Kirsty Holcroft, 34, of Grace Avenue, Warrington were both jailed for eight years.

Six other people who pleaded guilty to their part in the drugs ring at an earlier hearing were jailed on Thursday, September 26.

Two men from Wakefield - Gulsher Khalique, aged 39, of Trinity Street, Agbrigg, and Amir Hussain, aged 39, of Newland Court, Agbrigg - were found to be leading the operation's second source of supply from Wakefield.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug and were both jailed for eight years.

Tanvir Khalid, 38, of Newland Court, Agbrigg, Wakefield, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for eight years.

John Paul Finn, 34, of Aldcliffe Crescent, Balby, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug and 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.

Billy James Barton, 33, of Ireland Street, Orford, Warrington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A controlled drug and was jailed for 12 years.

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Five men were previously found guilty of possession with intent to supply a Class A controlled drug and were jailed in 2017.

Brain Devanney, 42, of St Johns Road, Edlington and Aaron Cameron, 26, of Clark Avenue, Edlington were both jailed for six years.

Christopher Peat, 27, of Common Lane, Doncaster, was jailed for four years.

Nigel Darbyshire, 53, of Grainger Close, Edlington, was jailed for three years and two months.

Detective Inspector Mitch Leach, who leads the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, ​said the group had led an 'organised and sustained' operation.

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.

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“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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