Four Stone men jailed after police smash Staffordshire-Merseyside drugs ring

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Four men from Stone in Staffordshire and one from Merseyside have been jailed for 25 years for drug offences after a kilo of cocaine and £45,000 cash were found during searches, a court heard.

Police discovered £45,000 cash in a hidden compartment of a van and a kilo of cocaine in a search of a kitchen at an address in Stone.

A quarter kilo of cocaine was also found stashed inside a cereal tin, during a car search.

The case involved a supply line of cocaine between Wirral and Staffordshire.

Ten men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs at earlier hearings.

Daniel Felgate, 34, of Priory Road, Stone, was found guilty of the same offence on October 23 following a six-day trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

The court was told that in August 2015, a silver Mercedes Vito van was observed pulling up outside a property in Longhope Drive, Stone.

James Jackson, 49, of The Oaks, Wirral and driver of the van, was found with £45,350 in banknotes stuffed in a supermarket carrier bag.

The money was examined forensically and it was found to have prints matching Felgate’s.

Another man, Ian Mycock, was stopped nearby and found to be in possession of two grip seal bags containing cocaine with a value of £110.

Officers forced entry to the property in Longhope Drive, and Felgate ran off. After a short chase, he was arrested.

Simon Richardson, 36, of Longhope Drive, and Wayne Bond, 37, of  Walton Grange, Stone, were both at the address and in possession of mobile phones with text messages linked to drug supply on them.

A search of the property where officers found a kilo of cocaine, valued at £43,000 to £57,000, in the kitchen.

A few days later, a white Nissan Navara pick-up was stopped on the M6 travelling southbound between junctions 19 and 18.

Lee Edwards, 21, of Dilhorne Road, Forsbrook, was driving the vehicle while Thomas Cotterill, 22, of Victory Crescent, Cheadle, and Joseph Plimmer, 20, of Woodlands Lane, Blythe Bridge, were passengers.

Under the front passenger seat was a cereal tin containing what was found to be 243 grams (a quarter of a kilo) of cocaine with a value between £10,000 and £24,300.

The tin was later examined for fingerprints and found to have two marks identified to Russell Ford, 36, of The Old Factory, Oxton in Birkenhead.

Grant Holder arranged the meeting of Ford and Cotterill and subsequent supply of cocaine, the court was told.

Holder, 34, of Wedgwood Avenue, Stone, was sentenced to 6 years 6 months.

Felgate, 34, of Priory Road, Stone, jailed for to 7 years.

Richardson, 36, of Longhope Drive, Stone, was sentenced to 4 years 6 months.

Bond, 37, of Walton Grange, Stafford Road, Stone, jailed for 5 years.

Ford, 36, of The Old Factory, Rosemount, Oxton, Birkenhead, sentenced to 2 years 7 months.

Jackson, 49, of The Oaks, Wirral, is due to be sentenced today (Wednesday November 8).

Cotterill, 22, of Victory Crescent, Cheadle, received a 16-month suspended sentence.

Plimmer, 20, of Woodlands Lane, Blythe Bridge, received a 21-month suspended sentence.

Edwards, 21, of Dilhorne Road, Forsbrook, received a two-year suspended sentence.

Cotterill, Edwards and Plimmer were each ordered to undertake 250 hours’ unpaid work and to pay £400 costs.

Mycock, 35, of Hardy Road, Stafford, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and was given a 12-month conditional discharge, £20 victim surcharge and £130 costs.

Det Insp Lesley Fowler, of Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime investigations department, said: “We’re glad that these men are now behind bars.

“They went to lengths to conceal their activity and officers have worked hard over years to painstakingly gather evidence and build a case which has resulted in successful prosecutions.

“We’re dedicated to taking a proactive stance on tackling organised criminal activity and the supply of illegal drugs within our community.

“We will act decisively to take drugs and weapons off the street to keep our communities safe from harm and protect the vulnerable.”

Anyone who has information about a crime can call Staffordshire Police on 101.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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