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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Six Members of York Heroin Gang Given Jail Sentences

Breaking News

5:53pm 12th June 2014

North Yorkshire Police’s Organised Crime Unit have secured convictions against seven people involved in a conspiracy to supply heroin in York.

Ringleader Brian Smith was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment at Teesside Crown Court today after running the operation from his home on James Street Caravan Site in York between July 2012 and May 2013.

Smith, aged 37, now of Water Lane, York, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs along with, Liam Baker, Lauren Elizabeth Hughes and Nathan Wayne Tetley.

Michael Lee Marshall and Michael Purnell were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs following a trial.

Baker, aged 26, of Chapel Garth, Dalton, Thirsk, was jailed for 15 months. His sentence will run concurrently to the three years he is already serving in prison for burglary.

Hughes, aged 25, of Sowerby Road York, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Marshall, aged 38, of Fossway, York, received a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Purnell, aged 47, of Union Terrace, York, will be sentenced on Monday 16 June 2014.

Tetley, aged 30, of Church Balk, Edenthorpe, Doncaster, was jailed for three years.

Brian Smith’s partner Danielle Smith, aged 28, of James Street, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and was sentenced to two years imprisonment suspended for two years. She was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service.

Brian Smith was responsible for sourcing the heroin from outside of York, mainly from Doncaster, but used other people to collect the drugs for him, in particular Baker and Hughes.

Once the drugs arrived in York, Smith used Purnell and Marshall to distribute them throughout the city.

On 13 November 2012, Brian Smith drove Baker and Hughes to Doncaster, where he picked up a consignment of heroin from a caravan site on Stocksbridge Lane.

Having left Baker and Hughes nearby he returned to collect them and dropped them off at a nearby McDonald’s, before returning to York.

Baker and Hughes booked a taxi to take them back to York. On the return journey police stopped the cab on the A19 near Escrick and after a search of the vehicle found a pink handbag containing 494 grams of heroin and Hughes and Baker were arrested.

Later that day police stopped Smith’s Volkswagen Golf on the A19 at Barlby and arrested him.

Following the arrests of Baker and Hughes, Smith recruited Tetley to transport the drugs from Doncaster.

On 5 January 2013, Tetley was stopped by police on the A19 near the Designer Outlet at York. During a search of the Land Rover Freelander he was driving, officers found a package containing 247 grams of heroin.

Marshall and Purnell were arrested on 21 May 2013, after further police enquiries linked them to the conspiracy.

Judge Peter Armstrong recognised the officers and staff who worked on the case for their painstaking and thorough work in bringing this organised crime group to justice.

He commended Detective Inspector Mark Pearson, Detective Sgt Nicola, Detective Sgt Judith Smith, Detective Constable Adam Heatlie and Detective Constable Richard Coultas, along with Jan Campbell and Carl Townsley for their efforts.

DI Pearson, of North Yorkshire Police’s Organised Crime Unit, said: “I am pleased that the court has recognised the severity of the actions of this criminal group and has imposed appropriate sentences.

“Brian Smith was careful to use other people to do his dirty work for him and made sure he was rarely in possession of the drugs, however the determined efforts of the investigation team were able to show the scale of his involvement in this conspiracy.

“Purnell, Marshall, Baker and Hughes were all drug-users who Smith took advantage of to help run his business, however they knew what they were involved in was illegal and they are now facing prison sentences which their actions deserve.

“Fortunately during the police investigation into this conspiracy officers intercepted almost 750 grams of heroin which would otherwise have made it onto the streets of York.

“It is difficult to overstate he importance of identifying drug dealing operations like this, which line the pockets of criminals and cause untold misery in our communities.”

Community intelligence plays an important part in helping officers to identify drug dealers operating in North Yorkshire.

If you know of someone involved in the supply of drugs in your area, please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 1 – and pass information to the Force Control Room.

If you prefer not to give your name, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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