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11 December 2014, 17:34
Three members of a Cambridgeshire family have been jailed for a total of more than 22 years for running an operation which saw millions of pounds worth of heroin distributed across the county.
Cambridge Crown Court heard the Warden family ran a heroin distribution network from the family home in Belt Drove, Elm.
They obtained the heroin in significant quantities from dealers in the West Yorkshire area before coordinating others in distributing and selling it on.
The operation was run by 41-year-old David Warden, with help from his mother Mavis, 63, and father Barry, 69.
The quantities they were running was revealed when one supplier, Usman Iqbal, 22, of Thornbury Avenue, Bradford, was arrested on December 29 last year near Wittering, near Peterborough.
He was found to have 4kg of heroin in his car, worth an estimated £400,000, and was jailed at Peterborough Crown Court in April for four years and nine months after pleading guilty to possession of heroin with intent to supply.
David Warden was yesterday (11th December) jailed for 12 years, while his parents, who were jailed in May 2005 for a similar drugs conspiracy run from the same address, were sentenced to six years and nine months, for Mavis Warden, and three years and 364 days for Barry Warden.
All three had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs at an earlier hearing. The charge covered a period between September last year and June this year.
The court heard a key figure on the West Yorkshire side of the network was Azad Yaqub, 31, of Silverhill Road, Bradford, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Along with Iqbal, another working to supply the Wardens was Mohammed Idris, 38, of High Street, Dewsbury. Idris pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was jailed for six years and six months.
Two further men, who were involved in the distribution of drugs in Cambridgeshire, were also jailed.
Richard Aguis, 50, of Toftland, Orton Malborne, Peterborough, was sentenced to seven years and four months, while Michael Thompson, 26, of Eighth Avenue, Wisbech, was sentenced to four years.
David, Barry, and Mavis Warden and Thompson were all arrested on January 27 in Belt Drove. During a search of the property and surrounding area using search dogs, a bag was discovered containing 5kg of heroin.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Becky Tipping said an estimated £4 million worth of class A drugs had been handled by the network during the course of the investigation, which ran from September last year to June this year.
She said: "The Wardens were running a significant drugs distribution enterprise from their home and directed others who shipped in drugs from West Yorkshire to be distributed in Cambridgeshire. This was a complex investigation carried out by a dedicated team and I hope the sentences handed out today serve as a warning to others involved in the drugs trade. The distribution of class A drugs is not only a very serious crime in itself, it also fuels other crime, such as burglary, robbery and theft. The Wardens had a chance to reform after their previous prison sentence but clearly refused to do so and today's sentences reflect that."
A further eight people have been convicted in connection with the drugs network but are yet to be sentenced.