£1 million pound drugs operation foiled in Leicestershire

Two men from Leicester have been jailed for their role in a large scale drugs operation believed to be worth over a £1 million.

The men were sentenced at Leicester Crown Court for a total of 11 years for drugs offences across Leicestershire and West Yorkshire.

Mark Longland, 56, of Cairnsford Road was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine).

Liam Martin, 31, of Main Street, Fleckney, pleaded guilty to possession of class A drugs (cocaine and crack cocaine) with intent to supply.

The pair were part of a larger network of criminals involved in the operation, with six of the gang members sentenced in December 2017.

The investigation was carried out by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit and involved tracking the movements of the defendants through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and analysis of phone data after their arrests to see who was in contact with whom.

The police operation established that a large amount of high purity cocaine was delivered into Leicestershire, thought to be worth between £640,000 and £1.6m.

Investigator Rosie Wood said: “Following the sentencing of the six men at the end of last year, and a further year of working to get this case in front of the courts, I am very pleased with this result.”

“With these men serving lengthy prison sentences, the streets of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are much safer.”

Judge Ebrahim Mooncey told Longland: “In my view you were connected with the others in the conspiracy, you knew the extent of it and played a significant role in the conspiracy. You had a good understanding of the scale.”

Longland was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years and Martin handed a three-and-a-half-year sentence.