FOUR men from Boston have been jailed following a major swoop which uncovered £1.1 million drugs.
A former special constable who hid £10,600 for his drug-dealing neighbour was among the group tracked down in what police have called the biggest operation of its kind in recent years.
The drugs haul included class A and B drugs heroin, cocaine, cannabis resin and amphetamines.
At Lincoln Crown Court last Thursday and Friday some members of the gang were collectively sentenced to 48 years in prison.
Timothy Louth, 30, of Bleak House Farm, Wyberton, was sentenced to nine years behind bars after admitting his role as one of the ring-leaders, while former volunteer policeman Nicholas Ingamells, 40, was imprisoned for 18 months after pleading guilty to concealing £10,600 of cash for Louth, who lived next door.
Trevor Marson, 33, of Ingelow Avenue, Boston, admitted collecting heroin from a service station on the A1 and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Jamie Milne, 32, of St Nicholas Road, Boston, was jailed for 34 months after admitting acting as courier for Louth, being paid a fee of £100 a trip. Another Boston man, Leigh Dawson, 27, of Woad Farm Road, said he made just one trip, and was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid work for his part.
Philip Bell, 41, of Green View, Kirton, pleaded guilty to acting as intermediary between Louth and trafficker Stephen Payne on one occasion.
His sentencing was adjourned to tie in with another trial.
During sentencing, the court was told police used CCTV, listening devices, covert cameras and surveillance to target the suspected drug dealers and eventually carried out a string of arrests between February and March 2011.
Codenamed Operation Atlanta, it ran alongside another by the East Midlands special operations unit, in which police targeted the distribution of drugs from the Midlands and Yorkshire to the Boston area.
The operation found Philip Cox, of Jubilee Road, North Somercoates, ran a public fishing lake called Joy of Koi, using it as a front for his drugs business. Stephen Payne from Pear Tree Lane, Fulstow in Louth, ran a nearby farm which was used as a distribution site.
The two men were each jailed for 11 years.
Prosecutor Gordon Aspden added: “The motive was financial, it was professionally organised crime.
“Cox used a legitimate business as a front.”
Lincolnshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister said after the case: “This was the largest operation of its kind run in recent times by Lincolnshire Police and due to its complex nature was run in tandem with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit.
“In total drugs valued at £1.1 million were seized and taken off the streets of Lincolnshire, and the disruption caused to traffickers would have run to multiple millions.
“We are delighted with the sentences passed in court which sends out a real message to those who deal in drugs in Lincolnshire.”
Simon Godwin, 39, a Grimsby based drugs dealer who lived in Quarry Road, Louth, was jailed for three years after he was caught with 121 grams of high purity cocaine.
Jamie Smith, 23, of Mill Lane, Grainthorpe, who was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work after running errands for Cox.
Rashpal Singh, 33, of Hyne Avenue, Bradford, was jailed for 12 months after he admitted conspiring to supply heroin to Lincolnshire from West Yorkshire.
Liam Buckley, 40, of Foljambe Drive, Dalton, Rotherham, was jailed for two years after he admitted acting as an intermediary for one cocaine pick up, and earlier this year Michael Cash, 28, from Bentley, South Yorkshire, was jailed for three years after he admitted acting as a ‘go between’ for a £13,000 cocaine deal.
David Roddis, 46, of Deer Park Road, Rotherham, was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community after he admitted acting as a courier for Cox.
A fifth man from Harrogate in North Yorkshire will be sentenced for his role later this month.
All 15 were charged with and admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
The charges for Louth, Cox, Payne, Smith and Cash also involved class B drugs.
*This video clip is taken from the surveillance footage used by police to convict the gang.