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30 June 2015, 11:16
Fifteen drug dealers have been jailed for a total of 79 years and six months for their part in a £30 million drugs operation.
The leaders of the multi-million pound drugs deal based in both Hartlepool and Liverpool were jailed at Teesside Crown Court last Thursday but now the other main players in the organised crime have also sentenced. Five of them are from Hartlepool.
The court heard that drugs were transported between Hartlepool and Liverpool as well as Belfast and London and several of the two main gangs had previously been convicted for drugs offences in Europe.
The plan was to flood the streets of Teesside with heavily adulterated cocaine and amphetamine and "vast quantities" were moved across the Pennines.
Last week Hartlepool ringleaders Adrian Morfitt, and David Garside, were jailed for 12 years and 11 years and eight months, respectively. Liverpool drug dealers Ian Stanton, 44, was jailed for 16 years and Keith Watson, 38, for 15 years and four months.
And now Neal Gutteridge, 30, from Hartlepool, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis as well as for separate money laundering charges. The court was told Gutteridge was involved in handing over 25kilos of amphetamine worth £1.3 million to a Newcastle customer.
Darren Crossley, 31, from Hartlepool, has also been jailed for seven years after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply supply cocaine.
Firefighter of eight years, Paul Rudd, 34, from Hartlepool, was jailed for four years for conspiracy to supply amphetamine and was a courier for the operation.
Richard Ryan, 36, from Hartlepool, was described in court as "a trusted lieutenant" for Morfitt and Garside and mixed amphetamine with caffeine and other adulterants. He was sentenced to six years.
Mark Williamson, 37, from Hartlepool, was sentenced to three years and four months for intention to supply amphetamine. He was tempted into crime after being made redundant from the Army after 14 years in which he served his country in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo and Judge Peter Armstrong told him he had "given exceptional service to the country."
After the sentencing Det Insp Sarah Robinson of Cleveland Police said: "Drugs blight the everyday life of a lot of people in our communities.
"I hope that today they are reassured that Cleveland Police will continue to bring justice to the people at the very top of the drugs world."