Two Sunderland men cleared of drugs ring charges

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TWO Sunderland men have been cleared of being part of an alleged cocaine ring operating between Merseyside and the North East.

Kirk Maddison, 31, of Gill Terrace, and Robert Stevens, 57, of Hylton Road, both Sunderland, had stood trial for the last two weeks at Teesside Crown Court.

They were accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine between January and March 2013 after a series of arrests in Hartlepool and Sunderland.

But Maddison and Stevens were found not guilty of the allegation on a judge’s direction.

It followed successful applications by their lawyers for the charge to be dismissed.

A charge of possessing a class B drug was also dismissed for Maddison, but he pleaded guilty to possession of a class C drug with intent to supply.

He was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Five men, including Paul Lawton, 51, of Dellfield Drive, Sunderland, are still on trial for the cocaine charge.

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