A drug-dealing gang who texted punters with rhymes are now behind bars after admitting their crimes.
Kieron Benbow and two accomplices, Louise Saunders and Sarah Faulconbridge, supplied crack cocaine and heroin from Nottingham into the Chesterfield area.
They would often drive around in hire cars to try and avoid detection, along with a fourth gang member – Gary Thompson, a drug user who was also made to do odd jobs for Saunders and Faulconbridge.
Using the alias ‘Sam’, the group would advertise their presence by texting regular punters, and sometimes used what they thought were humorous poems to generate interest.
Among the budding wordsmiths’ efforts, sent from a central mobile phone to a list of contacts on February 14, was: “Roses are red, violets are blue, our gear is fire, come buy two and two. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
PC Helen Ward, who led the investigation into the gang’s activity, said: “This group, led by Benbow, pumped drugs from Nottingham into the community of Chesterfield.
“They toured our streets in a fleet of hire cars and used Thompson as an in so they could prey on drug users, often in broad daylight.
“While they must have found it funny writing rhymes to lure their users, the misery they will have caused was anything but.
“They thought they were untouchable and Benbow even hinted that he’d be able to get away from police if he had the right vehicle.
“Unfortunately for him, our cars were better and his failure to get away from us led ultimately to the collapse of his operation and the jailing of his friends.”
Benbow was snared in February 2020 after failing to stop for police on the A617 towards Chesterfield.
During the pursuit, the 29-year-old threw a package containing 187 wraps of drugs out of his window, before eventually being caught in Hollis Lane, Chesterfield, a short time later.
Among the mobile phones seized from him was the main drug supply number, which contained his poetic efforts.
Other entries included “The sun is shining, Sam’s up and rising, I got dat takle that gets U climbin!” [sic] and “When it rains am on, when it snows am on, when it frozen I melt it wit my fire” [sic].
Benbow, who had also taken a selfie outside Chesterfield police station intimating that he wouldn’t be caught, was charged with drugs offences and remanded into prison custody.
A few days later, Thompson and Faulconbridge, who had taken over the running of the line, were stopped in a car in Tennyson Avenue and a large amount of class A drugs were found – including 187 wraps stuffed in Faulconbridge’s bra.
Further evidence unearthed from their phones led to the arrest of Saunders in March.
The four were all charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court. They were sentenced last month to the following:
•Benbow, of no fixed abode but previously of Newthorpe, Nottingham, was jailed for eight years;
•Saunders, 38, of Fourth Avenue, Carlton, Nottingham, was jailed for two-and-a-half years;
•Faulconbridge, 40, of Stanley Road, Mapperley, Nottingham, was jailed for two-and-a-half years;
•Thompson, 41, of Sedgemoor Close, Chesterfield, was jailed for two years.
PC Ward added: “This was a hugely complex operation involving many hours of effort from a vast number of officers, all dedicated to bringing down a group of criminals who were exploiting vulnerable people on our patch.
“The sentences should send a warning to anyone else thinking about drug-dealing – that we will not tolerate it.
“I also hope the gang use their time behind bars to work on their poetry.”