Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Keep out of Norfolk – that was the stark warning issued by a Norwich judge after he jailed a drugs gang for a total of more than 65 years.
The gang, headed by Bowthorpe man Anthony Yallop, was responsible for the wholesale supply of thousands of pounds worth of cocaine across Norfolk.
The operation was smashed after police carried out a sophisticated undercover operation, codenamed Hawthorne, which involved officers secretly filming members of the gang and recording their conversations.
The total amount of cocaine seized as part of the investigation carried out between 2012 and 2013 has an estimated street value of more than £100,000 while £30,000 in cash and numerous mobile phones were also seized.
At Norwich Crown Court yesterday Judge Anthony Bate sentenced all 10 members of the gang to a total of 65 years and eight months in prison.
Martin Lamb, 47, of Tottington Close, Bowthorpe, was jailed for six years, after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Max Inkson, 28, of Beloe Avenue, Bowthorpe, was jailed for seven and a half years after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Julian Bevis, 46, of Smeat Road, Bowthorpe, was jailed for four years, after he pleaded guilty to encouraging or assisting the commission of offences believing that they would be committed, namely Class A drug possession and supply and control of criminal property.
Adam Harwood, 36, of Brumstead Road, Stalham, was jailed for two years eight months after admitting being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Lyndsey Grady, 41, of Southtown Road, Great Yarmouth, was jailed for three years after being found guilty of being concerned in the supply of drugs.
Jason Cornish, 34, of Courtenay Close in Norwich, was jailed for three years six months, after admitting being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
Dale Wilson, 31 of Hanbury Close, Norwich, was jailed for two years after he admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
He said all defendants had to receive immediate custodial sentences “both to punish each of you and deter others from taking part in distribution of class A drugs”.
He added: “The message from this court is Norfolk is no place for anyone who joins in this evil trade which brings much human misery in its wake.”
The main members of the gang were Anthony Yallop, William Haddow and Nicholas Grady.
Thirty-two-year-old Yallop headed up the group from his home in Montgomery Close, in Bowthorpe.
He collected money from the other members of his network, controlling their clients and then organising the purchase of large quantities of cocaine and its distribution.
Yallop, who was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine following a trial last year, was described by Judge Bate as the “central figure” and “chief among co-conspirators” and was jailed for 16 years – a sentence which brought gasps from the public gallery in court one.
Yallop was recorded stating he could earn around £150,000 a year from his network and arranged payment of monies owed for drugs. His barrister said there was no evidence of high living and added that some of Yallop’s comments were “drunken brags”.
Haddow, 32, of Hereward in Earith, Cambridgeshire was a trusted and close friend of Yallop and not only provided finance for his bulk purchasing of cocaine, but also acquired and delivered the drugs.
Haddow, who admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, was jailed for eight years by Judge Bate who said he was Yallop’s “right hand man”.
Grady, 43, of Colomb Road, in Gorleston, was considered by Yallop to be his best customer who had a close-knit group of drug users to whom he supplied cocaine within the Great Yarmouth area.
Grady, who was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine but admitted two counts of being concerned in the supply of drugs, was jailed for 13 years by Judge Bate who said he was regarded by Yallop as his “best dealer”.
The seven other gang members received sentences totalling 28 years and two months by Judge Bate who commended police for their work in what was a complex and sophisticated investigation.
The nine-month investigation gathered evidence through surveillance including photographing the group and recording conversations between the defendants.
Yallop was recorded stating he could earn around £150,000 a year from his network and arranged payment of monies owed for drugs.
In March 2013, Martin Lamb was stopped in his car in Norwich with more than two kilos of cocaine in the vehicle.
Later that month a warrant was executed at Lyndsey Grady’s home address in Great Yarmouth – more cocaine was seized, along with drugs paraphernalia.
In June 2013 Dale Wilson and Jason Cornish were stopped in Acle and both had cocaine on them when searched.
Senior investigating officer Det Insp Gary Bloomfield said: “After a lengthy investigation it is pleasing to see that some significant sentences have been handed out and members of an organised crime group have been removed from our streets.
“We aim to create a hostile environment for those engaging in this type of criminal activity and will continue to target people involved in the drugs market.
“Following today’s sentencing, we will apply under the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate the money and assets the group gained to ensure they do not prosper from their criminal activities.”
Det Chief Insp Steve Mattin, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “While Norfolk is a safe place, we are continually working to target organised crime groups. Due to the hidden nature of this work the public are largely unaware of these operations until we get an outcome like this.
“Communities can play a big part in tackling serious and organised crime, as whilst it sounds very grand, it can be happening on your doorstep as groups spread far and wide as Yallop’s associates did.
“Lower level offending can sometimes be linked back to people controlling criminal enterprises across a wide area, and so any information local people can pass to police or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously can help us to combat this.
“Police enforcement is not taken lightly though, and is based on significant intelligence that officers develop from information we receive.
“We work with our partners, including trading standards, at a more local level and other forces locally through the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit all the way up to the National Crime Agency to disrupt serious and organised crime and bring down networks like Yallop’s. While his gang now begin lengthy prison sentences, their drug dealing activities have now ceased making the local communities in which they operated much safer places.”