These are the members of a Sunderland crime gang dubbed 'the Geordies' who terrorised Devon communities and face 105 years in jail

The 13 men making up organised crime gang ‘the Geordies’ have been jailed following a terrifying reign or violent attacks, rapes and the streets of Devon communities flooded with drugs.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 5:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 9:59 am

And the core of the gang, at the heart of a criminal empire valued at £1million, was made up of individuals who were originally from the Sunderland area.

The gang used violence and coercive tactics to maintain its criminal empire – which was valued at £1million.

It exploited a number of vulnerable people in Dawlish and Teignmouth, both in Devon, and flooded the streets with cocaine and cannabis.

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Ross Morton was found guilty of eight counts of rape
Ross Morton was found guilty of eight counts of rape

One Sunderland criminal in the gang was found guilty of eight rapes.

Who was the ringleader?

The group’s leader was James Lee Brooks – known as ‘Geordie Lee’ – who boasted he was the ‘King of Dawlish’.

Brooks, 41, now of Dawlish, is now beginning a 25-year prison sentence for 20 drugs and sex offences.

John White and Ross Morton assault victim over drugs debt

These included conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and 13 counts of aiding and abetting rape.

Who are the jailed gang members and what did they do?

Ross Morton, 32, West View, Roker, Sunderland, was found guilty of eight counts of rape and further charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis. He also admitted a count of coercive and controlling behaviour. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

John White, aka ‘Johnboy’, was Brooks’s half-brother and a key lieutenant in the criminal operation. White, aged 35, of Chudleigh, was jailed for nine years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.

The 13 criminals who have been found guilty of an array of crimes.

Nazrul Islam, 36, of Teignmouth, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, two counts of rape, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and a further charge of possession of ammunition without a licence. He was jailed for 11 years.

John Rowntree, 35, of Dawlish, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis and two further counts of making threats to kill. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Keiron Archbold, 22, of Dawlish, and Martin Turner, 41, of Teignmouth, were both convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and were jailed for six and seven years respectively.

Gavin Brooks, 26, of Mainsforth, County Durham, the cousin of James Brooks, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. He was jailed for two years.

Weapons seized from gang members after their arrest on March 27, 2019.

Marvin Grant, 33, of Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. He was jailed for five years.

Lewis Williams, 20, of Liverpool, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. He was handed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.

John Jackson, 30, of Dawlish, admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and assault inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was jailed for two years and one month.

Stephen Green, 38, of South Devon, was convicted of four counts of rape and was jailed for four years.

James Trott, 37, of Teignmouth, was found guilty of rape and jailed for three-and-a-half years.

What the police investigation into the crime gang found?

Drugs seized from the address of Lewis Williams

The court heard the group supplied Class A and B drugs to others in Dawlish and Teignmouth.

Then used serious violence to enforce debt - with some individuals owing as much as £50,000.

The gang used its influence and control to sexually exploit three women.

Evidence shown during the trial saw John White and Ross Morton dishing out a brutal beating to one debtor.

In one text messages from James Brooks to a debtor he threatened to ‘open him up’.

The trial also heard how Nazrul Islam arranged for two members of the gang to attend the address of one man over a drugs debt where they viciously attacked him.

When a number of gang members were arrested in March 2019, John Rowntree contacted and threatened to kill a member of the public who had shared and commented on a Facebook post on the matter.

How long did this go on for?

The gang’s offences occurred between 2018 and 2019 and police arrested the majority of the group on 27 March last year.

The sentencing by Judge Michael Longman at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, February 4, followed a four-month trial which concluded on January 28.

This is what one of the rape victims said in a court statement:

“James Brooks and his associates are, in my opinion, all evil people. Monsters even.

“They do very bad things to people. They ruin people’s lives.

“They are involved in drugs, with which come all the wicked, violent and hateful things that surround it.

“They rely on violence to put fear into people. This is what they did to me. There was never a choice.”

What have police have said about the crimes?

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Wilden, head of the Serious and Organised Crime Team with Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “For too long, residents have had to live with the wide-ranging criminality, antisocial behaviour and general unpleasant atmosphere brought to the area by this group of criminals.

“The grip it had on certain aspects of town life was disproportionate and needed to be robustly addressed.

“Its members exploited vulnerable people, motivated by their nefarious criminality.

“The sentencing ends this group’s chapter; it has been dismantled by the police and prosecution team.”