£1.1m drug trafficking gang jailed for total of 48 years

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AN organised crime gang who were caught during a special operation in which police removed drugs valued at more than £1million from the streets of Lincolnshire have been jailed for a total of 48 years.

The gang, which included two men from Wyberton and one from Kirton, were sentenced during a two-day hearing at Lincoln Crown Court last week.

Louth-based ringleaders Stephen Payne (43) and Philip Cox (41) were each jailed for 11 years after being described during the hearing as “mid range drugs traffickers”.

Farm worker Timothy Louth (30) of Bleak House Farm, Wyberton, was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for playing a “slightly lesser role” in the conspiracy.

Former special constable Nicholas Ingamells (40), who lived next door to Louth in Wyberton, was jailed for 18 months after he admitted concealing £10,600 in cash belonging to his former neighbour.

During the investigation, Phillip Bell, (41) of Green View, Kirton, pleaded guilty to acting as intermediary between Louth and Payne on one occasion. He faces further charges arising out of Operation Ridion and will be sentenced at a later date.

Five other Lincolnshire men were among the gang of 15 people arrested for their roles in supplying Class A and B drugs which included cocaine, heroin, cannabis resin and amphetamines.

Boston men Trevor Marson, (33) of Ingelow Avenue, Jamie Milne, (32) of St Nicholas Road and Leigh Dawson, (27) of Woad Farm Road, were all sentenced by the court last week, along with Simon Godwin, (39) of Quarry Road, Louth and Jamie Smith, (23) of Mill Lane, Grainthorpe.

Codenamed “Operation Atalanta”, the investigation ran alongside another operation run by the East Midlands special operations unit in which police targeted the distribution of drugs from the Midlands and Yorkshire to the Boston area.

As a result the East Midlands Special Operations Unit set up “Operation Ridion” which combined with the Serious and Organised Crime Unit from Lincolnshire Police.

The court heard police used CCTV, listening devices, covert cameras and surveillance to target the suspected drug dealers and eventually carried out a string of arrests between February and March 2011.

Five other men from outside Lincolnshire were also arrested. Rashpal Singh (33) of Hyne Avenue, Bradford, Liam Buckley, (40) of Foljambe Drive, Dalton, Rotherham and Michael Cash (28), from Bentley, South Yorkshire, were all jailed for their roles in the crime, while David Roddis, (46) of Deer Park Road, Rotherham, was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.

A fifth man from Harrogate will be sentenced for his role later this month.

Lincolnshire Police assistant chief constable Roger Bannister said: “This was the largest operation of its kind run in recent times by Lincolnshire Police.

“In total, drugs valued at £1.1m were seized, and the disruption caused to traffickers would have run to multiple millions.

“We’re delighted with the sentences which send out a message to those who deal in drugs in Lincolnshire.”