Detectives seized £300,000 worth of drugs and £41,000 in cash from an organised crime group which operated out of Cannock.

Twenty-three members of five organised crime groups were sentenced to a total of 132 years in prison last October for their part in a major drugs operation spanning the Midlands and South West.

The groups, based in Cannock and Stafford, Walsall, Swadlincote, Redditch and Swindon, pleaded guilty in earlier hearings at Stafford Crown Court to conspiracy to supply either class A or class B drugs.

They were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court following an operation by Staffordshire Police.

The court heard that cocaine and MCAT (a class B synthetic stimulant drug) was being transported through the group’s links in Swindon, Derbyshire and the West Midlands.

The operation to bring them to justice was led by Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime department which investigated the organised crime group (OCG) based in Cannock and led by John Appleton and Michael O’ Mahoney.

Following the court case drugs and cash were seized:

• 1.78kg of cocaine, street value in the region of £71,849
• 14.49kg of mephedrone, street value of £217,000
• 23 cannabis plants, street value of £10,350
• 284g of ethylphenidate, street value of £1,420
• 677g of benzocaine, street value of £150
• 6.52g of BK-MDEA, street value of £90

• £41,000 in cash

Twenty three men and women from Staffordshire, Derbyshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, Wiltshire and Warwickshire were charged with offences ranging from conspiring to supply class A and class B drugs, possession class A and class B drugs and production of class B drugs and money laundering offences.

Following sentencing Confiscation Orders were sought against all of the offenders. The case was finalised on 22 August at Shrewsbury Crown Court when confiscation orders were made against the last two and principal offenders, John Appleton and Michael O’Mahoney.

The following sentences and Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation orders were handed down by the trial Judge Jonathan Gosling:

John APPLETON, 48, of Locketts Court, Cannock, 14 years imprisonment, Benefit £647,478.60, Confiscation Order £50,681.92, Default sentence 30 months.
Michael O’MAHONEY, 45, of Avenue Road, Cannock, 14 years imprisonment, Benefit £475,235.66, Confiscation Order £90,450.75, Default sentence 30 months.
Gary PEAPELL, of Swindon, 8 years 8 months imprisonment, Benefit £309,349.61, Confiscation Order £1905.00, Paid, Default sentence 40 days.
Adam FARMER, of Kineton Close, Redditch, 8 years 6 months imprisonment, Benefit £234,030.00, Confiscation Order £143,694.58, Paid, Default sentence 3 years.
Gareth PINCOMBE, of Repton Road, Swadlincote, 8 years 2 months imprisonment, Benefit £174,134.19, Confiscation Order £2,604.10, Default sentence 4 months.
Jason BAYLEY, of Leamington Close, Cannock, 8 years imprisonment, Benefit £118,888.50, Confiscation Order £56,915.05, Default sentence 18 months.
Shane ANDREWS, of John Donne Street, Stafford, 8 years imprisonment, Benefit £40,970.00, Confiscation Order £745.00, Paid, Default sentence 7 days.
Carol POPE, of Glover Street, Cannock, 7 years 2 months imprisonment, Benefit £100,630.00, Confiscation Order £35,890.00, Paid, Default sentence 12 months.
Darren PEARSON, of Moss Street, Cannock, 7 years 2 months imprisonment, Benefit £32,256.00, Confiscation Order £23.46, Default sentence 5 days.
Jamie WILSON, of Sidney Avenue, Cannock, 6 years 9 months imprisonment, Benefit £44,085.00, Confiscation Order £14,044.57, Paid, Default sentence 7 months.
Keith PEAPELL, of Swindon, 6 years imprisonment, Benefit £296,534.31, Confiscation Order £6,124.70, Paid, Default sentence 7 months.
Russell DEGG, of Repton Close, Cannock, 6 years imprisonment, Benefit £500,000.00, Confiscation Order £69.00, Paid, Default sentence 7 days.
Lewis CHAMBERS, of Hillary Street, Walsall, 4 years imprisonment, Benefit £41,420.00, Confiscation Order £2,339.32, Paid, Default sentence 3 months.
Lucy BUTLER, of Sanderling Close, Featherstone, 4 years imprisonment, Benefit £6,000.00, Confiscation Order £145.00, Paid, Default sentence 7 days.
Scott KENNY, of Rugby, 5 years 4 months imprisonment, Benefit £47,785.00, Confiscation Order £11,384.00, Paid, Default sentence 9 months.
Jamie SLEIGH, of St John’s Road, Cannock, 3 years 7 months imprisonment, Benefit £31,121.79, Confiscation Order £10.00, Paid, Default sentence 7 days.
Richard MENZIES, of Swadlincote, 3 years 7 months imprisonment, Benefit £95,572.48, Confiscation Order originally £19,461.07 but being revised to £22,288.51, Paid, Default sentence 18 months.
Matthew PARSONS, of Lower Birches Way, Rugeley, 3 years 6 months imprisonment, Benefit £15,000.00, Confiscation Order £15,000.00, Paid, Default sentence 7 months.
David PERKINS, of Redditch, 3 years 4 months imprisonment, Benefit £31,346.16, Confiscation Order £1,586.90, Paid, Default sentence 3 months.
Brett APPLETON, of Locketts Court, Cannock, 20 months’ imprisonment, Benefit £45,000.00, Confiscation Order £1,177.96, Paid, Default sentence 40 days.
Derek HODGKISS, of St John’s Road, Cannock, 17 months suspended sentence, Benefit £35,170.00, Confiscation Order £406.31, Paid, Default sentence 7 days.
Kyle WILSON, of Merrivale Road, Stafford, 14 months’ imprisonment, Benefit £2,254.31, Confiscation Order £185.31, Paid, Default sentence 6 months.
Lee HIGGINS, of Redditch, 11 months suspended sentence, Benefit £3,200.00, Confiscation Order £5.07, Paid, Default sentence 7 days.

Inspector Rob Harvmann, of Staffordshire Police, said: “All of these offenders played a role in fuelling drug crime in south Staffordshire and elsewhere across the Midlands and South West. It has taken a great deal of tenacity and attention to detail to obtain Confiscation Orders that allows the recovery of their assets. Should they fail to pay, default sentences will be imposed ensuring they cannot continue with their criminal enterprise. Staffordshire Police is committed to seizing and confiscating assets from those who benefit from any criminality in particular drug trafficking in our communities.”

If you suspect drug dealing in your community you can call Staffordshire Police on 101 or the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.