Members of two Yorkshire crime rings have been jailed for a combined total of more than 50 years for their roles in a £450,000 drugs plot.
Stephen Robert Small, from York, described as the “mastermind at the centre of a criminal web”, was locked up for 12 years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs in Wetherby, Harrogate and Leeds.
The 29-year-old had been earlier convicted of the same two offences, as well as conspiring to convert criminal proceeds, in York in a separate trial.
He was sentenced at Teeside Crown Court last Thursday alongside Daniel James Fisher, 35, from Bradford, and Benjamin Lindley Toothill, 30, from Harrogate, who were both jailed for 10 years for their roles in the plot.
A fourth defendant, Oliver Hawksworth, 28, from Harrogate, received a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work after admitting conspiring to supply Class B drugs.
Members of a linked drugs gang in York were convicted at Small’s earlier trial, it can now be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted last week.
Andrew Paul Beard, 31; Robbie James Burns, 33; Lee Quinlivan, 23; David Atkinson, 34; and Paul Garside, 43; were found guilty of conspiring to supply Class B drugs and were jailed for three years; 12 months, suspended for a year; 18 months; six years; and 21 months, respectively.
Claire Allan, 24, was found guilty of conspiring to convert criminal proceeds and received a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years.
Edward Peart, 26; Simon Turner, 32; and Daniel Taal, 26; all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs at an earlier hearing. Their respective sentences were: 27 months; 21 months and 30 months. Dennis Patton, 36, pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and received a conditional discharge.
The gang members were arrested between January and April 2012 following two long-running and complicated police operations, Operose and Felsic.
Drugs worth more than £300,000 were seized and officers also confiscated more than £150,000 in cash.
Detective Inspector Matt Walker, of North Yorkshire Police’s Organised Crime Unit, who led the investigations, welcomed the verdicts and sentences.
“Stephen Small is a cunning man who was the mastermind at the centre of a criminal web,” he said.
“He ran his criminal enterprise in a professional business-like manner, working closely with his co-conspirators.
“He distanced himself from handling the drugs, however the evidence and subsequent verdicts clearly show he orchestrated the business.”