Drugs gang jailed for over 30 years in Sheffield

Court news from The Star
Court news from The Star

Four men caught after police seized £1.4million worth of cocaine and heroin in South Yorkshire have been jailed for a total of 33-and-a-half years.

South Yorkshire Police and National Crime Agency officers stopped 32-year-olds James Graham and Jamie Gardiner, from Lanarkshire in Scotland, in an HGV on the A1 near Doncaster, last November 8.

Sheffield Crown Court heard officers found four kilograms of heroin and 1kg of cocaine hidden in the axles of a red trailer attached to the HGV, which belonged to Graham’s father’s haulage firm in Scotland.

Vincent Blake-Bernard, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday, said Graham and Gardiner had driven to Dover in the HGV where they met 41-year-old John Welsh, from London.

They crossed the Channel and Welsh waited in Calais, France, while the other men visited Belgium, where the prosecution say the drugs were collected.

A few days later, Graham and Gardiner returned to Calais and Welsh took the HGV with the red trailer containing the drugs across the channel.

The men were seen celebrating in a Dover pub after getting through customs without being caught.

Text messages sent by a fourth defendant, Hugh McKay, from County Down in Ireland, to Graham, implicated him in the conspiracy.

They read: “Get the next one set up” and talked about ‘making big bucks next time’.

Jailing them for conspiracy to import Class A drugs, Judge Sarah Wright said: “This was a well planned, carefully executed and sophisticated plan to import Class A drugs.”

Gardiner was jailed for nine years, six months, Graham and McKay for nine years each, and Welsh for six years.