MEMBERS OF a drugs ring which pumped tens of thousands of pounds worth of heroin onto the streets of a Yorkshire town have been jailed for more than 40 years.
The self-proclaimed head of the group, Paul Rayner, employed numerous people to store, cut and distribute the Class A drug across Barnsley.
Rayner, 44, of Spey Close, Mapplewell, was jailed for 12 years at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty last month to conspiracy to supply heroin.
A nine-month investigation by South Yorkshire Police uncovered the scale of the conspiracy.
Nigel Gibbons, 48, of Princess Street, Mapplewell, was Rayner’s main ‘storeman’, and received a six year jail term for conspiracy to supply heroin.
The investigation to unravel Rayner’s drug dealing operation began in January 2013, when Rayner and Gibbons held a clandestine meeting in a remote area of West Yorkshire.
Officers observed the pair exchanging drugs and cash. Gibbons was detained at the scene, while Rayner fled the scene in his car and was finally arrested in Wakefield.
Approximately 1.5kg of heroin with an estimated street value of £50,000 and around £15,000 cash was recovered.
Over the next nine months, officers in Barnsley continued to investigate Rayner, culminating in a series of warrants executed across the town in September 2013.
More heroin and cash was seized, and six of Rayner’s associates were arrested.
The five men and one woman were charged last year and appeared before Sheffield Crown Court in March 2013, where they all entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Throughout the course of the operation, heroin worth £85,000 was recovered, along with around £20,000 cash.
Also jailed for six years yesterday was Stephen Boydell, 42, Forest Road, Athersley North, for conspiracy to supply heroin.
Stuart Andrew Hayes, 41, of Montrose Avenue, Darton, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for his part in the ring and Ian Robert Hoyle, 44, of Hopwood Street, Barnsley, was sentenced to five years in prison.
Following an earlier trial, Mark Osbourn, 34, of Coniston Avenue, Staincross, was convicted of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.
David Osbourn, 56, of Clifton Close, Athersley North, was also found guilty at the same trial and received a two-and-a-half year prison sentence.
Det Sgt Antony Coy, who lead the investigation, codenamed Operation Mica, said: “Today marks the end of a lengthy and complex investigation into one group’s drug dealing across Barnsley.
“The sentences handed down today and at earlier court hearings are the culmination of months of hard work from a dedicated team of officers to remove a significant quantity of heroin from the streets and in doing so neutralising an entire organised criminal group.
“Heroin and other illicit drugs destroy lives, something that those who engage in illegal drug dealing are ambivalent to. The culmination of this investigation should serve as a warning to other drug dealers that we will hound you, we will prosecute you and, where possible, we shall seize your homes and assets.”
The eighth conspirator, Rebecca Elrington, 31, of Park View, Royston, will be sentenced next week.