Three years jail for 24th member of drugs gang who supplied heroin and cocaine in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft

Norwich Crown Court

Norwich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A female drugs runner has become the 24th member of a gang responsible for supplying heroin and cocaine on the streets of Norfolk and Suffolk to be sentenced.

Sonia Wooldridge, 39, was jailed for three years for her role in the enterprise, which was exposed by a major undercover police operation in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Police had launched the investigation – Operation Nuffield – following local intelligence of dealing in the areas. Norwich Crown Court has previously heard that two 'test-purchasing' officers were deployed to the towns, where they 'achieved a considerable degree of success' in late 2014 and early 2015.

Wooldridge, of Marine Parade, Lowestoft, supplied heroin to one of the under cover officers in December 2014 – three wraps, in exchange for £25.

Wooldridge, who previously admitted one count of supplying class A drugs, was jailed for three years by Judge Anthony Bate.

Guy Ayers, mitigating for Wooldridge, said she was a 'vulnerable, easily-led addict' who has the 'will power of a gnat' and who was under the influence of people much more intelligent and controlling than her.

Earlier in the day on Friday, Dale Springer, 46, of Spashett Road, Lowestoft, was sentenced as part of the same operation.

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He had previously admitted one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Matthew McNiff, mitigating, described his client as a 'used user' who was a street runner in the operation.

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and given a 12 month supervision order.

The test officers bought drugs from groups of runners or foot soldiers, who were led by Colin Owusu-Asokwa.

He was said to have played a 'very important and leading role' in the organising of the drugs.

The operation resulted in a number of drugs warrants being executed last March at addresses, including High Street, Marine Parade and London Road South, in Lowestoft, and Nelson Road North, Middlegate and Vincent Close in Yarmouth.

Owusu-Asokwa was one of several members of the gang who appeared last month to be sentenced after admitting their involvement in the conspiracy to supply class A drugs. He was jailed for 54 months.

Have you got a crime story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk