Norwich: Group Jailed Over Heroin Seizure

8 September 2012, 06:00

A group of men and women who were involved with the supply and distribution of heroin worth over £1.5 million have been jailed for a total of 29 years.

An organised crime group who were involved in the supply and distribution of over £1.5million worth of heroin have today started sentences totalling more than 29 years.

A covert operation stretching over 10 months led to the arrest of the gang in a raid on the Swanton Road travellers site in Norwich back in August 2011.

Ivor Lee, aged 55 and of Swanton Road travellers site, Norwich; Wanda Lee, aged 29 and also of Swanton Road travellers site and Paul Sayer, aged 41 and of Godric Place, Norwich, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at an earlier hearing.  Charlie Gaskin, aged 25 and from the Costalot travellers site in Bagworth, Leicestershire, was convicted of the same offence following a trial at Norwich Crown Court in July 2012. 

Investigations had revealed that Ivor Lee and his daughter Wanda were working with Paul Sayer, who acted as their courier, and Charlie Gaskin, who was one of their suppliers based in Leicestershire, to bring multi kilo quantities of heroin into Norwich for onward distribution at street level. 

Lee recruited Sayer to drive to the Costalot travellers site to collect the drugs from Gaskin and deliver them to him at the Swanton Road travellers site. He would then supply it on to other drug dealers and users in the Norwich area. Both Lee and his daughter Wanda also visited the Costalot site to deliver cash payment for the drugs.

On the day of the raids, Tuesday 16 August 2011, Ivor Lee travelled by car to the Costalot site. It is believed he supplied a large quantity of cash in payment for heroin before returning to the Swanton Road site in Norwich. Later the same day, Paul Sayer also travelled by car to the Costalot site, where he met with Charlie Gaskin. Sayer was supplied with 3.9 kilograms of heroin which was contained within a hessian sack. Sayer drove back to the Swanton Road site where he attempted to deliver the drugs to Lee, simultaneously; police officers raided the site and arrested Paul Sayer, Ivor and Wanda Lee. The sack containing the heroin was also seized.

Subsequent searches of specific caravans on the Swanton Road site also uncovered a large quantity of cash totalling over £40,000.

Ivor Lee was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, Wanda Lee was sentenced to five-and-a-half years while Sayer was jailed for 10 years at Norwich Crown Court this afternoon.

Detective Inspector Gary Bloomfield of Norfolk Constabulary's Serious & Organised Crime Unit, welcomed the sentencing, saying "This is the largest single seizure of heroin Norfolk Constabulary has ever made.  Should the drug have been further adulterated to give it a purity recently found on the streets of Norwich, this consignment would have had a wholesale price of between £1.5 to £2million. Our intelligence indicated that Ivor Lee, a career criminal who has served custodial sentences before for conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine in the Norwich area, had been repeating the exchange of cash for drugs process for many months prior to his arrest and this investigation stopped him in his tracks. It is also another step towards reducing the amount of drugs readily available on our streets which in turn protects our communities from the scourge of Class A drugs."

Charlie Gaskin will be sentenced at a later date.