A South Yorkshire man who played a key role in a ‘major’ drugs ring, dealing in cocaine, heroin and amphetamine, has had his jail term cut on appeal.
Paul Sherrington, aged 51 was ‘an important link’ in a long criminal chain before he was snared with more than 40kg of class B drugs, and more than 3kg of class A drugs, in his car and at two Rotherham homes.
Sherrington, of Howell Gardens, Thurnscoe, near Barnsley, was caged for 15 years at Crown Court in April, after he admitted counts of possessing the drugs with intent to supply.
But three top judges at London’s Appeal Court upheld Sherrington’s sentence challenge, declaring his jail term excessive – and cutting it to 11 years.
Mr Justice William Davis said covert police officers watched as Sherrington drove to a village near Sheffield and passed 7kg of amphetamines to another man on February 26, 2013.
Officers continued to follow Sherrington and stopped him a few days later as he drove to Nottingham.
In his car they discovered 991 grams of high-grade heroin, at 50 per cent purity.
They then searched two houses in Rotherham connected to him.
Court report - latest convictions click link
At the first, they found a dealer’s list and equipment for cutting drugs.
There were also mixing bowls, weighing scales and 20kg of cutting agent.
In an outbuilding at the second property, officers uncovered just under a kilo of heroin, more that a kilo of cocaine and 40kg of amphetamine.
There was also a hydraulic press for shaping cocaine into blocks.
Sherrington pleaded guilty to one count of supplying amphetamine, three of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply and one of possessing amphetamine with intent to supply.
The sentencing judge told him: “You got yourself into a trusted senior position in a drugs supply and preparation chain.
“You were an important link, especially in relation to the heroin, between those at the top and those lower down.”
Sherrington had no relevant previous convictions before he was caught with the illicit substances.
Wearing a grey Nike sweater, with his hair closely cropped, Sherrington watched from prison via a video link as his lawyers argued the jail term was excessive.
Mr Justice William Davis agreed that 15 years was over the top, also accepting that Sherrington had been given ‘inadequate’ credit for his guilty pleas.
Sitting with Sir Brian Leveson and Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing, the appeal judge, said the proper sentence would have been 11 years.
She said: “That is the sentence we substitute...accordingly, the appeal is allowed.”