A man who was part of a drugs conspiracy where cocaine was hidden in a cereal tin and banknotes in a secret compartment in a van has been jailed.
James Jackson, aged 49, of no fixed address, was sentenced to two years eight months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today (8 November) for conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine), after pleading guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing.
Five other men were jailed for a total of 25 years for drugs offences on Monday (6 November) as part of the same conspiracy to move drugs between Staffordshire and the Wirral, after a kilo of cocaine and £45,000 in cash were found during searches in Stone.
Officers discovered £45,000 cash in a hidden compartment of a van and a kilo of cocaine in a search of a kitchen, while a quarter kilo of cocaine was also discovered stashed in a cereal tin, during a search of a car.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told that on 12 August 2015 just after 7pm a silver Mercedes Vito van was observed pulling up outside a property in Longhope Drive, Stone.
James Jackson got out of the van and went inside carrying a blue and white bag. He left a few minutes later with a supermarket carrier bag. The van was stopped a short distance away and a supermarket carrier bag was found in a hidden compartment containing £45,350 in banknotes.
When this money was examined forensically it was found to have prints matching to Daniel Felgate. As officers forced entry to the property in Longhope Drive, Felgate jumped from the upstairs bathroom window and ran off. After a short chase he was arrested. Simon Richardson and Wayne Bond 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 began and officers found around one kilo of cocaine (valued at £43,000 to £57,000) in the kitchen.
The cocaine was inside the blue and white bag Jackson had taken into the property.
In a second event, on 25 August 2015, a white Nissan Navara pick-up was stopped on the M6 travelling southbound between junctions 19 and 18. The driver was Lee Edwards and Thomas Cotterill and Joseph Plimmer were passengers.
Under the front passenger seat was a cereal tin, containing what was found to be 243 grams (1/4 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.
Holder was instrumental in arranging the meeting of Ford and Cotterill and subsequent supply of cocaine.
The sentences handed out were:
- Grant Holder, aged 34, of Wedgwood Avenue, Stone, sentenced to 6 years 6 months
- Daniel Felgate, aged 34, of Priory Road, Stone, sentenced to 7 years
- Simon Richardson, aged 36, of Longhope Drive, Stone, sentenced to 4 years 6 months
- Wayne Bond, aged 37, of Walton Grange, Stafford Road, Stone, sentenced to 5 years
- Russell Ford, aged 36, of The Old Factory, Rosemount, Oxton, Birkenhead, sentenced to 2 years 7 months
- Thomas Cotterill, aged 22, of Victory Crescent, Cheadle, received a 16-month suspended sentence
- Joseph Plimmer, aged 20, of Woodlands Lane, Blythe Bridge, received a 21-month suspended sentence
- Lee Edwards, aged 21, of Dilhorne Road, Forsbrook, received a two-year suspended sentenceCotterill, Edwards and Plimmer were each ordered to undertake 250 hours’ unpaid work and to pay £400 costs.
A further man, Ian Mycock, aged 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.
Detective Inspector 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.”