DRUG dealers who sold crack cocaine and heroin in a Yorkshire town centre were yesterday given prison sentences totalling more than 60 years after a 15-month operation by detectives.
The gang operated in Doncaster, but saw some dealers travelling to Yorkshire from London, was smashed after officers gained the support of local businesses to provide information.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the gang had dealt and supplied a “significant quantity” of Class A drugs last year, with the capital’s Metropolitan Police taking an interest in the operation.
The 12-man gang, who all pleaded guilty, received between three and nine years in prison. Nine were convicted of supplying Class A drugs, four men of conspiracy to supply and one for being concerned in the supply.
DCI Steve Whittaker said more than £15,000 in cash was seized, along with half a kilo of crack cocaine and half a kilo of heroin, with a combined street value of approximately £40,000.
Several arrests were made by Metropolitan Police officers in London based on evidence gathered in Yorkshire, while some organised criminals from the capital were arrested in Doncaster.
Mr Whittaker said: “Street dealers attract drug users and this unwanted combination brings with it anti-social behaviour and violence that undoubtedly affects a disproportionate number of local residents and young people.
“We listened to their concerns and the information provided by our communities has been of real value. It demonstrates that only by working together can we make a real difference.
“This operation is a strong warning to anyone involved in dealing drugs. If you think you are safe to deal drugs in Doncaster, or South Yorkshire, you are wrong.
“If you think communities will tolerate you, you are wrong. If you think people are scared to tell us who you are, you are wrong.
“We will work with communities and partners to ensure that we identify you, arrest you and prosecute you to keep our communities safe. South Yorkshire Police, will not tolerate drug dealing at any level, and we will do everything in our powers to prevent this type of offence and bring the offenders to justice.
“This operation is part of a wider strategy that aims to ensure young people in Doncaster manage to achieve their ambitions and reach their full potential.
“It is extremely important to us that people feel safe, and are safe within their communities.”
Doncaster Council’s deputy mayor Coun Cynthia Ransome said: “This has been a successful operation in the removal of drugs from the streets of Doncaster. We commend all involved.”
South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright added his congratulation and said the operation was a “major achievement”.