Two jailed over £3.5m Leicestershire drugs deal

Image caption,
The two men were caught after a tip-off from members of the public

Two men have been jailed for 13 years and four months each after they admitted possession of heroin with an estimated street value of £3.5m.

Janson MacDonald, 39, of Standish, Wigan, and Allert van der Heide, 36, of Hardegaryp, The Netherlands, appeared at Leicester Crown Court.

The court heard the pair were seen transferring the drugs between vehicles in Shawell, Leicestershire.

McDonald was then caught trying to dump the drugs haul.

At an earlier hearing, van der Heide admitted importing a class A drug, supplying a class A drug, and possessing a class A drug with intent to supply it.

Macdonald admitted possessing a class A drug with intent to supply it.

He was given a further nine-month sentence, to be served concurrently, after admitting three charges of possessing a prohibited weapon, namely a stun gun.

'Devastating impact'

In sentencing the two men, Judge Simon Hammond said: "Every day these courts see people whose lives have been wrecked by heroin.

"I wonder if they [the defendants] thought or even cared of the crimes that would have been committed to get this heroin.

"Both of these men were playing for very high stakes, on any account this is a huge amount of heroin."

The court heard van der Heide was attempting to transfer the drugs from his lorry into Macdonald's Transit van when a member of the public became suspicious, and phoned police.

Macdonald fled when PCSO Steve Adams arrived. The officer called for back-up from colleagues while he kept van der Heide talking.

Det Ch Insp Neil Castle, who led the investigation team, thanked the two members of the public who reported Macdonald and van der Heide.

He said: "They each gave a small piece of information that has resulted in us recovering the biggest haul of heroin that Leicestershire has ever had.

"If this shipment had got through, some criminals would have got richer and there would have been more heroin in the community with the devastating impact that has.

"From travel documents and other evidence we found at Macdonald's home, it was clear that this was not the first occasion that large amounts of drugs were brought into this country by this crime group."

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