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Church-owned Devon house cocaine dealers jailed

image copyrightDevon and Cornwall Police
image captionJake and Lester Purdy admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine along with their co-defendant Julian Eslick

A drugs gang who were dealing cocaine from a church-owned village property during lockdown have been jailed.

Lester Purdy, 66, his son Jake, 25, Julian Eslick, 46 and Trevor Forbes, 58, rented a property owned by the Diocese of Exeter in Ide, Devon.

They were caught after villagers became suspicious, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Lester Purdy was jailed for seven years and eight months and his son sentenced to three years and four months. Eslick was given four years and Forbes a year.

The father and son and Eslick, all of Cliff Bastin Close, Exeter, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine while Forbes, of Brasenose Driftway, Oxford, admitted conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

They were arrested in May.

image copyrightDevon and Cornwall Police
image captionPolice said the total value of drugs seized and proceeds in the case exceeded £500,000

Forbes was a courier who was found with £76,000 in his car.

After villagers became suspicious about their movements, police carried out covert surveillance on the property.

The men were arrested in Ide, near Exeter, on 12 May after police recovered about 2kg of the drug, worth about £200,000 in nearby woods.

Police said officers discovered that since February 2019 around £260,000 had been laundered and the total sum of drugs and proceeds in the case well exceeded £500,000

Det Insp Dave Egan said: "The large-scale operation had a significant impact on the otherwise quiet and safe village of Ide and members of the community have been supportive of the police operation throughout."

Related Topics

  • Ide
  • Exeter

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