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Court hears how police operation exposed county line drug gangs

PUBLISHED: 15:08 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:08 07 September 2018

Police officers ram a door during Operation Granary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police officers ram a door during Operation Granary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Shaba, Scouse Macca and Oreo are just some of the names of county line drug networks found to be operating in Norwich, a court has heard.

Ali Khan was found with 18 wraps of heroin, 35 wraps of cocaine and £709 in cash when he was arrested by police on April 17 this year. Photo: Norfolk PoliceAli Khan was found with 18 wraps of heroin, 35 wraps of cocaine and £709 in cash when he was arrested by police on April 17 this year. Photo: Norfolk Police

The groups have been exposed following a six-month police operation targeting the sale of Class A drugs earlier this year.

Norwich Crown Court heard on Thursday how an undercover officer obtained several mobile phone numbers used by county line drug gangs.

The officer, known only as ‘Tommo’, would then call the numbers to arrange the purchase of heroin and crack cocaine.

His work led to the sentencing of four dealers operating on behalf of the Chris, Oreo and Scouse Macca lines on Thursday.

Gary Carver was jailed for 30 months. Photo: Norfolk PoliceGary Carver was jailed for 30 months. Photo: Norfolk Police

Prosecutor Chris Youell said there were other networks found by officers including the Kano, Ace, Joe and Shaba lines.

Explaining how ‘Tommo’ helped expose the Chris network, Mr Youell told the court how the officer had “befriended” a number of drug addicts.

He said: “There was one called James who was very productive.

“Unwittingly he gave a number of phone numbers to Tommo. He thought Tommo was a fellow drug user.”

It was from this that the officer arranged several transactions through the Chris network, resulting in dealers being covertly photographed by police.

Dealer Ali Khan, of Romford Road, London, was later arrested and was found in possession of a mobile phone linked to the Chris drug line.

The 26-year-old was jailed for four years on Thursday.

Prosecution evidence heard in court also shed light as to how some drug networks would operate.

During the sentencing of Gary Carver, of Magdalen Street, Mr Youell said the Scouse Macca line would advertise what drugs it had on offer.

He said: “Tommo was getting adverts texted to him from the Scouse Macca group.”

Carver, 46, who sold a wrap of heroin to the officer, was jailed for 30 months.

The undercover officer was part of Norfolk Police’s Operation Granary, which resulted in a series of arrests in April this year.

Judge Anthony Bate is presiding over more than 50 cases charged under the umbrella of the operation.

Other county lines disrupted by the operation include the Rico, Carlos, Buzz and Adrian lines.

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