December 13 2013 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A fourth member of a drugs gang responsible for a heroin haul at a Norwich travellers site valued at close to £2m a - the largest ever found in Norfolk - has been jailed.
Drugs worth an estimated street value of more than £1.5m were discovered when police raided the Swanton Road travellers site in the city in August last year.
Charles Gaskin, 26, from the Costalot travellers site in Bagworth, Leicestershire, was today sentenced to 20 years in prison at Norwich Crown Court after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs following a trial in July.
Last month Ivor Lee, 55, of Swanton Road travellers site, Norwich, Wanda Lee, 29 and also of Swanton Road travellers site and Paul Sayer, 41 of Godric Place, Norwich, were jailed for a total of nearly 30 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at an earlier hearing.
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 on September 7.
Detective Inspector Gary Bloomfield of Norfolk Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, welcomed the sentencing. He said: “This was the largest single seizure of heroin Norfolk Constabulary has ever made.
“Gaskin played a key role in this drugs operation and to see him behind bars for such a lengthy sentence is of great satisfaction.
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.”
A covert police surveillance 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 after watching Sayer return from Leicestershire with a package in a knotted pillowcase.
Norwich Crown Court heard last month that police tracked hire cars driven by Sayer to a travellers site in Leicestershire to pick up the multi-kilo shipments of heroin, where he would often arrive several hours after and Ivor Lee had visited to arrange the deal and make payment.
Sayer would collect the drugs from Gaskin, delivering to Lee, who then supplied it to street dealers in Norwich.