Men sentenced for their part in huge drugs ring operation
The gang behind a drugs ring has been sentenced following a police probe which targeted the crimes users resorted to as they fed their habit.
More than a dozen people were convicted at Newcastle Crown Court following Operation Orion, which was led by Northumbria Police and drew on the expertise of other organisations.
Among them were Gavin Jones, 38, of Norfolk Street Sunderland, who was charged with supplying a Class A drug - heroin - and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, a drug rehabilitation and supervision requirement for 12 months.
David Jackson, 28, of Church Street, Seaham, faced the same charge and also concerned heroin and was sentenced to 15 months suspended for 18 months.
Others were sentenced for conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis, possessing anabolic steroids.
Police carried out raids and searched 22 address across North Tyneside and Newcastle in two days of coordinated strikes during May last year.
As a result, officers also seized £10,273 in cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act, 30 people were arrested for offences including; supplying drugs, burglary, theft from vehicles and handling stolen goods.
They seized heroin with a street value of over £6,000 and cocaine with a street value of over £1,350 was also recovered along with other drugs including MDMA, also known as ecstasy, diazepam, cannabis and anabolic steroids.
Following further inquiries, £3,500 worth of stolen property was recovered and returned to victims, including mobile phones, vehicle keys, laptops and tablet devices.
The operation also led to the detection of almost 20 acquisitive crimes: five thefts from vehicles, nine vehicle interference offences, two burglaries and two other thefts.
Chief Inspector Jamie Pitt, of the force’s Northern Area Command, said the campaign was instigated as a result of feedback from the community.
He added: “This operation is an excellent example of how the local community and wider partnership can stand together to tackle complex issues of crime, antisocial behaviour and vulnerability.
“Vulnerability is at the heart of everything we do and whilst one key part of the operation was to target the organised sale and distribution of class A drugs at the same time we were working with key partners to signpost and support users away from drug addiction, to target rogue landlords and problem premises.”