North England gang jailed for cocaine dealing

Drugs Image copyright Durham Constabulary
Image caption The 91% purity of some of the cocaine showed the gang were at the top of the drugs chain, Durham Police said

Members of a gang who dealt cocaine across the north of England have been sentenced to between two and 16 years in jail.

The 12 men from County Durham, Tyne and Wear, Liverpool and Manchester were found guilty at Teesside Crown Court of supplying and dealing drugs.

Police seized cocaine and cannabis with a street value of about £1m in 2013.

Det Ch Insp Victoria Fuller from Durham Constabulary said the men were "quite simply horrible people".

"At no stage did they give a single thought to the misery their offending inflicted on communities or the innocent people caught up in their activities," she said.

"This is not just about the damage drugs themselves may cause but the associated crime which can badly affect communities."

Durham Police said the fact that some of the cocaine was 91% pure proved the gang were at the top of the supply chain.

The sentences

Image copyright Durham Constabulary
Image caption Clockwise from top left, Alan Crawford, Sam Turnbull, Timothy John Lister, Stephen John Golding, Ian McCabe, Gary John Kays
  • Timothy John Lister, 40, from Consett - 16 years
  • Sam Turnbull, 36, from Hetton-le-Hole - 11 years and two months
  • Alan Crawford, 42, from Houghton-le-Spring - nine years
  • Stephen John Golding, 33, from Liverpool - five years and six months
  • Ian McCabe, 43, from Pittington - five years and four months
  • Gary John Kays, 31, from Liverpool - three years and five months
  • Richard Brown, 47 from Leeds - two years
  • Michael Hudson, 30 from Gateshead - 18 months suspended
  • Peter O'Neill, 55, West Rainton - 12 months community order
  • Christopher Young, 35, Manchester - 1 year and 8 months
  • David Halliday, 39, Chester-le-Street - 10 months suspended
  • David Lewins, 40, Houghton-le-Spring - two years

Operation Skyhawk involved more than 200 police officers and staff and was carried out as part of Durham Constabulary's Sledgehammer campaign to target organised criminal groups in the force area.


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