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Norwich drugs gang jailed

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 10:05 02 July 2010

Christine Cunningham

A "highly organised" gang who brought crack cocaine and heroin from London to sell on the streets on Norwich were today starting jail sentences totalling more than 21 years.

A “highly organised” gang who brought crack cocaine and heroin from London to sell on the streets on Norwich were today starting jail sentences totalling more than 21 years.

The group even used the historic churchyard of St Peter Parmentergate in King Street, to hide part of their drugs stash, as well as an alleyway, near Alma Terrace, off the Aylsham Road and a home in Mile Cross.

But their drug dealing organisation was smashed after Norfolk police carried out a surveillance operation codenamed Whence, and arrested nine members of the gang in the latest crackdown to stop the flow of drugs being brought into Norwich by London dealers.

Yesterday eight of the gang appeared for sentence at Norwich Crown Court after admitting a number of drug charges and afterwards the officer who led the investigation Det Sgt Kevin White, of the Tactical Crime Unit, said that it sent out a clear message that anyone trying to peddle drugs, from London, was likely to get caught.

He said: “The sentencing sends out a clear message which reflects that London based drug dealers will not be tolerated in Norfolk. This was quite clearly an organised crime group that existed purely for the distribution of Class A drugs.”

Jonathan Seely, prosecuting, said it was drug dealing on street level and not a case of large quantities of cocaine or heroin: “The value of the various drugs are in the hundreds of pounds rather than the thousands, but the court will see that it was a pretty extensive operation involving many people.”

Sentencing them, Judge Paul Downes said the operation involved bringing drugs from London to sell on the streets of Norwich and said: “It was clearly quite organised.”

Oyindamola Babalola, 20, from London, was one of the defendants seen using the churchyard of St Peter Parmentergate Church, as a base for dealing after a stash of drugs was hidden in the grounds and he was given three years two months in a young offender's institution after he admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.

Elliott Bonney, 18, also from London, was given three and half years in a young offender's institution after the court heard he acted as a runner and had become involved in the operation while on bail for another drug offence in Norwich.

Michael Record 18, from London, who admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine was given two years in a young offender's institution and Marcus Wood, 19, was given two and half years in a young offenders.

Debee Norman 20, who was called “an important cog” in the operation was given two years three months in a young offender's institution for allowing the Norwich home of her mother in Bentley Way, Mile Cross to be used to store the drugs. The court heard when police raided the address they found £1,100 in cash and wraps of heroin and scales and Norman had told police it was nothing to do with her mum.

Jonathan Katindi, 20, another of the gang from London was given three years in a young offender's institution and Davision, 26, of Civic Gardens, Mile Cross in Norwich, who admitted possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine was jailed for two and half years and Lee George, 19, of Half Mile Close, Mile Cross, Norwich, was given two years, three months, in a young offenders institution.

A ninth defendant Christopher Morrison, 22, from London has had his sentencing adjourned until May 14.

Jude Durr for Babalola, said he came to Norwich as a result of leaving home but was now back living with his family in London and said he had only been involved on a handful of occasions in the distribution of Class A drugs.

Martin Sperry for Bonney, said that his role was one of a runner as a way of paying of a debt. “He was paid a small amount of money which he was living on. He was at the very bottom of the supply chain.”

Lindsay Cox, for Record, said that he was only 17 at the time of the offence and Stephen Spence for Wood, said he had come to Norwich to stay with friends with the intention of getting away from London but then found himself involved in the drug dealing operation.

Houzla Rawat, for Norman, said that she was immature for her age: “She allowed her mother's flat to be used not thinking of the consequences.”

Priya Patel, for Katindi, said: “He was not a main conspirator.”

Stephen Spence, for Davison, said that he was a long-standing drug problem which he was now trying to tackle and Michael Clare for George said that he had been “naïve.”

Have you got a crime issue for the Evening News to investigate? Contact Ben Kendall on 01603 772423 or email ben.kendall@archant.co.uk

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