DRUG dealers have been jailed after supplying heroin and crack cocaine across Stratford.
Seven people from Stratford and one from Bidford were given prison sentences after pleading guilty for the organised supply of drugs, estimated to have been worth some £300,000.
A total of 21 people from Warwickshire, Wolverhampton and Kidderminster were sentenced at Warwick Crown Court on Friday (February 10).
Sentencing followed a complex 18 month investigation by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police. The investigation, dubbed Operation Southall discovered a ‘sophisticated’ organised crime group coordinating the supply of Class A drugs between September 2013 and December 2014.
Among those arrested were Peter John Goodwin, aged 44 from Bidford, who was sentenced to four years for two counts of conspiracy to supply.
Robert Stefan Edwards, 51 years, from South Green Drive, was sentenced to six months in prison for owning a property where he permitted the supply drugs from. He was released due to time spent on electronic tagging prior to trial.
William Simon Wells, 45, from Lodge Road, was sentenced to four years and eight months for conspiracy to supply.
Terry Morris, 47, from Clopton Road, was sentenced to three months in prison for owning a property where he permitted the supply of drugs. He was released due to time spent on electronic tagging prior to trial.
Kelly Traynor, 35 years, from Childs Close, was sentenced to four years and eight months for conspiracy to supply drugs .
Vincenzo Alexander Bottone, 46 years, from Holbrook Road, was sentenced to three years and eight months for conspiracy to supply.
Tabatha Hickman, 43 years, from the Birmingham Road area, was sentenced to a two year sentence, suspended for two years, for two counts of conspiracy to supply.
And James Paul Kesterton, 35, from Masons Road, was sentenced to six years and eight months conspiracy to supply and one year in prison for a money laundering offence, run concurrently.
Det Chf Insp Ally Wright said: “An organised crime group from Wolverhampton saw an opportunity to make money by supplying crack cocaine and heroin in Stratford and Kidderminster. It displaced established dealers and gained a foothold in order to corner the illegal drugs market in the towns. Local drug users were then recruited to facilitate the supply of the drugs.”
Temp Det Sgt Kris Shore added: “This was a highly motivated and organised scheme to pedal misery for gain. They were sophisticated in their operation using various means to bring drugs into Stratford and Kidderminster, including the use of the rail network and rotating couriers, which they thought would keep the police from their doors.
“They were wrong and the sentences reflect the hard work and determination of the investigators to protect from this sort of exploitation, the harm it causes to the drug users and the resulting crime committed to fund drug habits.
“I hope that the sentencing handed out by the courts at the culmination of Operation Southall sends out a clear message that the supply of drugs will not be tolerated.
“It is our priority to protect people from harm and bring offenders to justice and tackling illegal drug use significantly helps us to achieve this.
“We will work tirelessly to disrupt the workings of organised crime groups and make sure that those involved in illegal activity are put before the courts and made to pay for their ill-gotten gains.”
To report illegal drug activity call police on 101or 0800 555 111 to speak to Crimestoppers anonymously.