Avon and Somerset Police tell drug dealers: Stay away from our county
FIVE Police forces that have joined together are warning drug dealers to stay out of their counties.
11 people have been sentenced as part of a Zephyr investigation into the supply of drugs from Liverpool into the West Country.
All of the defendants involved in the investigation, codenamed Operation Dusk, pleaded guilty to serious drugs offences.
Zephyr is the south west specialist unit to tackle serious and organised crime.
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It is made up of officers from five police forces – Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall and Dorset.
During this investigation, officers seized heroin worth nearly £12,000, amphetamines worth more than £300,000, mephedrone (M-Cat) worth around £45,000 and quantities of crack cocaine.
Several kilos of cutting agents were also recovered.
They also believe fraud in excess of £50,000 was committed across the country.
Mark Taylor, who also goes by the name of Alan Lawless, 31, of Liverpool, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and conspiracy to commit fraud.
He has been sentenced to ten years and six months in prison.
Paul Murphy, who is also known as Paul Fowler, 48, also from Liverpool, was charged with the same offences and has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Ashley Paffett, 30, also from Plymouth, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and conspiracy to commit fraud.
He has been sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison.
John Bignell, age 42, from Liverpool, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
He has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Tina Bignell, 47, also from Liverpool, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
She has been given a three year sentence.
Dean Birkenshaw, 46, from Plymouth, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.
He was sentenced to 16 months in prison which is suspended for two years.
Adrian Watts, 40, from Weston-super-Mare, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Robert Henry, 29, from Liverpool, was also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and sentenced to 16 months in prison.
Tracy Jenkins, age 39, from Plymouth, was charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply.
She was given a suspended sentence earlier this year.
Jeffrey McGuiness, age 48, and from Liverpool, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class B.
He has been sentenced to 16 months in prison which is suspended for two years.
Natalie Westhead, age 35, was charged with money laundering and has already been handed a suspended sentence in connection with the same investigation.
The investigation has seen Zephyr working closely with neighbourhood policing teams across the country after information from members of the public was passed onto the team.
Detective Inspector, Paul Fell, said: “This result should give a warning to drug dealers across the country that if they come to the south west to commit offences, we will be waiting.
“This operation has resulted in a significant amount of drugs being taken off the street, along with thirteen people brought to justice, making the south west a safer place.
"Drugs cause misery to families and communities and we are committed to tackling those that distribute them.
“We will now seek to recover the money these people made from dealing drugs to ensure they have in no way benefited from their crime.
Anyone concerned about drug dealing in their neighbourhood should report it to their local beat team by calling 101.
Your information will reach Zephyr if it is suspected to be serious and organised crime.
Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For more information on Zephyr please visit www.zephyrsouthwest.com