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Drugs gang who used sutton shop are jailed

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Members of a criminal gang who used a Sutton-in-Ashfield shop to run a drugs supply operation have been sentenced to a total of more than 100 years in prison.

Police forces across the East Midlands and the north of England were involved in the detection of the conspiracy, seizing kilos of amphetamine and cocaine in the process.

A total of 12 people were convicted for their involvement in the plot and at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday (22 August 2014) the longest sentence-18 years and eight months - was handed to Ben Mullins of Ripley, in Derbyshire, who admitted to conspiring to supply both types of drug and conspiring to produce amphetamine.

The plot began to unravel in July last year when a van was stopped on the A1 near Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, containing ten kilos of amphetamine, worth an estimated £227,000.

The resultant investigation linked the drugs to the Protein Masters store in King Street, in Sutton, and a warrant was executed at the shop a few weeks later.

Officers from Nottinghamshire Police and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit discovered over seven kilos of a substance in residue form which contained amphetamine in buckets, drains and toilets within Protein Masters.

Also recovered was a vacuum packing machine and mixing tools, similar to those used in the construction industry.

Arrested at the scene were Craig Donnelly and Daniel Robinson. A further three arrests followed - including that of Mullins and Anthony Donnelly, the owner of Protein Masters and identified during sentencing by the judge as the ‘ringleader’ of the amphetamine operation - at other locations in Nottinghamshire.

In November 2013, there were two further incidents involving associates of Mullins.

Firstly, Michael Lawrence, of Stanton Hill, was arrested when the car he was travelling from Humberside in - having met fellow defendant Paul Critchlow - was stopped on the A1 by police officers, who found three kilos of high purity cocaine worth £600,000.

On 29 November, Derbyshire Police stopped a car being driven by Andrew Brimble in Pinxton. Inside was a haul of amphetamines weighing 67 kilos and valued at £1.3m. It was shown by the prosecution that these drugs had been passed on to Brimble on behalf of Mullins and others.

EMSOU detectives established links to a number of other individuals who had been in contact with Mullins and those who had already been arrested in connection with the conspiracy. The officers then worked with colleagues in the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Humberside, Greater Manchester and Merseyside to make further arrests.

A number of the suspects pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to produce or supply class A and B drugs.

Six were convicted following an eight-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court during June and July.

Verdicts and sentencing

Ben Mullins (13/3/81), Church Street, Ripley, Derbyshire (alternative address of Market Street, South Normanton).

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce amphetamine, conspiracy to supply amphetamine, conspiracy to supply cocaine

He was sentenced to 18 years and 8 months in prison.

Daniel Robinson (9/7/84), Paling Crescent, Sutton-in-Ashfield,

Nottinghamshire

Found guilty after trial of conspiracy to produce amphetamine and conspiracy to supply cocaine

He had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine

He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Craig Donnelly (14/6/91), Barker Street, Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire

Found guilty after trial of conspiracy to produce amphetamine and conspiracy to supply cocaine

He had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine

He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Anthony Donnelly (13/11/82), Southwell Road, Mansfield,

Nottinghamshire

Found guilty after trial of conspiracy to supply amphetamine

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Charles Corke (14/5/73), Hillcrest Road, Huyton, Merseyside

Found guilty after trial of conspiracy to produce amphetamine

He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Paul Critchlow (10/6/67), NFA, Humberside

Found guilty after trial of conspiracy to supply cocaine

He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Michael Lawrence (15/7/89), Victoria Street, Stanton Hill,

Nottinghamshire

Pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply.

He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Richie Fido (11/11/84), Broad Lane, Brinsley, Nottinghamshire

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce amphetamine, conspiracy to supply amphetamine

He was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.

Edward Taylor (15/3/84), Ringlow Park, Swinton, Greater Manchester

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine

He was sentenced to 52 months in prison.

Andrew Brimble (4/10/65), Staffa Drive, Tibshelf, Derbyshire

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine

He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Joshua Patchett (28/11/84), Station Road, Awsworth, Nottinghamshire

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. He will be sentenced on 10 September.

Catherine Harpham (28/4/90), Victoria Street, Stanton Hill, Nottinghamshire, who was in the car with Lawrence when it was stopped by officers, was found guilty of possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

She was sentenced at an earlier hearing to 12 months imprisonment but was released immediately due to time served on remand.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Mason, of EMSOU, said: “This case demonstrates the complexity of drugs supply conspiracies which operate through a network of associates, some of whom may be located in different parts of the country, let alone the region.

“The number of suspects involved also gives a clue as to the level of detail the officers investigating the case had to uncover from their enquiries in order to piece together a successful prosecution case.

“We are grateful to our colleagues in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and the other forces which helped us to carry out enforcement activity against the suspects.

“The East Midlands forces are determined to dismantle criminal groups which supply drugs to and within our region, and through EMSOU the forces have been targeting organised crime for a number of years now.

“This is the third case of its kind to be concluded at court this month and it is very satisfying to know that in just a matter of a few days more than 30 determined criminals from across the region who attempted to bring drugs into our communities have now been put behind bars.”

 

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