Three men from the Liverpool area who were running a £7,000-a-day county lines drug dealing operation in Grimsby have been jailed for a total of 21 years and 2 months today.
Twenty eight-year-old Joshua Hendry of Locinvar Street and Wade Chambers, 23, of Porton Road in Liverpool were both convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin following a trial at Grimsby Crown Court.
Jake Pilling, 27, of New Street in St Helens admitted his role in the conspiracy to supply the Class A drugs.
All three men were arrested as a result of a warrant our teams carried out at an address in Willingham Street in Grimsby on Friday 18 May last year.
Hendry - who was said to be the ringleader of the gang - failed to avoid being caught by fleeing to a nearby rooftop. He stayed on the roof of the property for 90 minutes before being arrested by our officers.
He and his gang had moved into the area from Merseyside by ‘cuckooing’ the home of a Grimsby man who had turned to drugs following a bereavement.
Cuckooing refers to the exploitation of vulnerable people by gangs in order to take over their home and use it as a base from which to sell drugs.
Although Hendry denied his role in the operation and failed to come to court for his trial, the jury found him guilty in his absence and he has been jailed for 10 years.
Chambers, who was said to be the gang’s second in command, was sentenced to 6 years and 10 months, while Pilling who acted as a runner for the group was jailed for 4 years and 4 months.
Detective Constable Abbie Park who led the operation said: “It became clear that this gang had exploited the existing tenant by plying him with free drugs and taking over his house in order to use it as a base for their drug dealing operation.
“Dozens of known drug users were regularly seen going into the house and leaving a short time later.
“When we raided the property we arrested Pilling and Chambers inside the house and found more than £1,000 in cash.
“No drugs were found in the house but we did recover a number of mobile phones with evidence of drug deals being advertised and prices being set by the gang.
“One text referring to the price of a bag of heroin (called b) read: ‘straight 10s on the b coz there big bags but can do 6 for 50’.
“Another, in which the gang advertised the prices for multi-buy deals of both cocaine (called w) and heroin (b) to potential customers, read: ‘Best about w 2 4 15. B 3 4 15’.
DC Park added: “We believe that by stopping this gang’s activities we have prevented significant amounts of heroin and crack cocaine from being sold on the streets of Grimsby and the associated crime and antisocial behaviour that goes with this kind of offending.
“We know the impact this has on communities and that’s why we will do everything we can to find those who are responsible and bring them to justice.
“Hopefully the sentences handed down to these three men today will serve as a warning to others looking to come to our towns to deal drugs that they’re not welcome here and we won’t tolerate it.
“I would also like to thank all the people who contact us with information about drug dealing and drug related crime in their areas.
“It’s with your help that we can put together successful operations like this one and make it clear that if you’re looking to sell drugs, North East Lincolnshire is not an easy target.”
If you have any concerns about what’s happening in your area, speak to your local officer, call into your nearest station or call our non-emergency 101 line.
If you’d rather not give your name, you can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. If someone is in immediate danger, always call 999.