ONE of the men caught in a massive police operation to bust drug dealers targeting Grimsby and other areas was an “errand boy” for two “professional criminals”, a court heard. The campaign resulted overall in drugs valued at more than £1 million being seized after police surveillance and a series of raids, a court heard. Jamie Smith, 24, of Town Road, Tetney, admitted two offences of being concerned in supplying cannabis between November 2009 and March last year. He also admitted a separate offence, not linked to the drugs operation, of possessing cannabis with intent to supply on November 8, 2010. Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Operation Atlanta was launched by Lincolnshire Police and was run in tandem with another operation for about 17 months between late 2009 and spring last year. Fifteen men were arrested and most of them pleaded guilty to drugs offences. One of them – a former special constable – admitted money laundering. Those at the top of the conspiracy included Philip Cox, 41, of Jubilee Road, North Somercotes, and Stephen Payne, 43, of Pear Tree Lane, Fulstow, who were “professional criminals motivated by money”. They and another man organised a network of dealers and couriers, with Grimsby as one of their main markets. “Smith was an errand boy for Cox,” said Mr Aspden. Smith supplied drugs on two occasions when he was asked to collect a package as a favour for Cox. He claimed he did not know of the existence of Class A drugs and the extent of Cox and Payne’s dealing and played a minor role.
The drugs involved on both occasions were half a kilogram of cannabis. “He is described as being Payne’s ‘lad’,” said Mr Aspden. “He was an errand boy for Cox. It’s quite plain that Cox and Payne used him.” The separate drugs matter came to light when police searched Smith’s then home and found 37.71g of cannabis, in 32 individual deal bags, and some digital scales. Tony Stanford, mitigating, said Smith came by the drugs found at his then home only a short time before the police search. “Those drugs were offered to him in part exchange for a vehicle he was selling and he stupidly accepted,” said Mr Stanford. No mitigation was requested for the offences linked to the conspiracy. Smith, formerly of Mill Lane, Grainthorpe, had previous motoring convictions. He was given 240 hours’ unpaid work. Judge Michael Heath told him: “You effectively ran errands for Cox and, on two occasions, couriered half a kilogram of cannabis. You were used by Cox and Payne.” Judge Heath added of the separate drug offence: “Your role was significant.” Smith appeared in court on his birthday and, after being spared prison, shared jokes with his legal team about being given a very welcome birthday present. After the hearing, he was asked by the Grimsby Telegraph if he was planning a big birthday celebration in view of this but – grinning broadly – he insisted he was not planning any special party. As reported in yesterday’s paper, Cox and Payne were each jailed on Thursday for 11 years after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamine. Simon Godwin, 40, of Quarry Road, Louth, was jailed for three years after admitting possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Four other men were jailed that day for a total of 14-and-a-half years.
via : This is Grimsby
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