Middle manager in county lines drug operation is jailed

Wayne Mann. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

Wayne Mann. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary. - Credit: Archant

A middle manager in a county lines drug dealing group was caught with Class A drugs worth between £4800 and £7,200, a court has heard.

Wayne Mann, 35, had a managerial role in the Tommy drug dealing group which was operating between Norwich and London, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Mann had possession of two phones used by the group which were found to contain a high volume of activity, including more than 11,200 calls and over 23,000 SMS messages between the autumn of 2019 and the early part of 2020.

The text messages included bulk text messages offering drugs to known drug users.

Mr Youell said that from the messages going out and coming in the crown would say Mann was not just someone who was sent out to deal drugs on the street but had a “middle management” role with the Tommy network.

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A decision was taken to arrest Mann and after police attended an address in Beckenham, London, in January this year, when officers found 120g of heroin, worth between £4800 and £7200, as well as about £2,000 in cash.

Mann, of Green Lane, London, appeared for sentence on Wednesday (April 15) having previously admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine between September 18 last year and January 22 this year.

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He also admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply on January 9 this year.

Judge Katharine Moore, who presided over the sentencing hearing via Skype, while the country is in lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak, described it as a “prolonged” piece of offending.

Sentencing Mann to a total of four years and two months, Judge Moore said he allowed himself to be drawn back into this “murky world” and had a “significant” role in the selling of heroin and cocaine to drugs users.

Judge Moore said he had been “discharging managerial responsibility” in the offence.

Tom Copeland, mitigating, said it was a “stupid and wrong decision” to get involved in drugs supply but said his client had built up a drugs debt.

Mr Copeland said he had been a man “in the grips of using drugs again” when he became involved.

He said his client deserved credit for his guilty pleas although knew he was in trouble and knows the court will give him a prison sentence.

He added that Mann was “very sorry” for what he had done.

A Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearing will take place on July 20.

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