On Friday (6 July) five people were sentenced to nearly forty years in prison for their part in a drug dealing operation which was based in Gosport.
During our investigation Class A drugs with a street value of more than £150,000 and approximately £7,000 in cash was seized as part of three warrants which were carried out on 1 April 2016.
The following sentences were issued at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday::
29 year-old James Hallett of Ferrol Road in Gosport was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine and possession with intent to supply both class A substances.
48 year-old Lee Sheehan of Prospect Terrace, Gunnislake, in Cornwall was sentenced to ten years in prison for being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine.
26 year-old James Whistler of the Chine in Gosport was sentenced to four years in prison for being concerned in the supply of heroin.
23 year-old Charlie Jeacock of Grove Road, Rayleigh, Essex had previously entered guilty pleas and was sentenced to seven years in prison for being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine.
35 year-old Billy Fitzearle of Southampton Road in Titchfield had previously entered guilty pleas and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine
Investigating officer DC Mark Brockman said: “I welcome these sentences which send a clear message that drug dealing and the associated violence and harm to vulnerable people this causes, will not be tolerated.
“Through our Fortress campaign, we work with our partners to reduce drug-related harm by restricting supply with enforcement, and providing support to those people on the periphery of the drugs trade.
“This was a complex investigation, but our enquiries revealed that this gang was based in Gosport and also had a house that they used in Cosham. They were dealing cocaine and heroin across South East Hampshire
“The court heard that Billy Fitzearle was seen driving Charlie Jeacock to various locations. Charlie Jeacock was on occasions seen to conduct exchanges with others at these locations. Charlie Jeacock was then seen in a vehicle driven by Lee Sheehan on 1 April 2016 conducting two further exchanges. The vehicle was stopped in Portchester and both men arrested. Jeacock was found to be in possession of wraps of heroin with a potential street value of more than £1,100, cocaine with a potential street value of £180, and £1,170 in cash. Billy Fitzearle was also subsequently arrested.
“We then executed warrants at different addresses believed to be connected to the gang. At Harbour Towers in Gosport a sim card was located that detailed drug dealing from October 2015. Some benzocaine was also seized, which has no household use, and is used to adulterate cocaine along with other drug dealing paraphernalia.
“At Meon Mews in Cosham James Hallett was arrested and heroin with a potential street value of £100,000 if a cutting agent were to have been used was seized. Officers found a 163g block of cocaine with a purity of 85% in one of the kitchen cupboards, when combined with a cutting agent this would have had an estimated street value of nearly £40,000. A number of smaller quantities and individual wraps of heroin and cocaine with a combined value of more than £15,000 were also located. A sixth man, who is yet to be sentenced, was also subsequently arrested and James Whistler attended a voluntary interview under caution.
“I’d like to thank all those people that have been involved in this wide-ranging investigation and who have helped to secure such a positive result at court which keeps our communities safer by removing a large volume of drugs and the people dealing them from the streets”.
Officers are keen to hear from anyone who is concerned about illegal drugs or drug-related crime in their neighbourhood.
Some of the things to look out for are:
A sudden increase in visitors to a house or flat and people only staying for a very short time
Short exchanges between small groups of people at or close to a flat or house
Residents leaving a flat or house on numerous occasions throughout the day and returning a short time later
People loitering in an area and using their mobile phones frequently
New-looking or hire cars parked outside a house or flat that wouldn’t normally be there, and being driven by somebody that you wouldn’t normally associate with driving that style of car.
If you are concerned about drug-related crime or anti-social behaviour where you live, then please contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.
Alternatively people can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where information can be left anonymously.
Fortress is Hampshire Constabulary’s campaign that looks to reduce the harm caused by drug supply, and supports those found to be exploited and on the periphery of crime by offering diversionary tactics through joint working with partner agencies.