Pair jailed for Ipswich drugs racket

TWO men were today beginning sentences totalling eight years after admitting being involved in large-scale drug dealing racket throughout Ipswich.The men, who are both from Liverpool, admitted to different charges of supplying heroin and crack cocaine while based at a flat in Ipswich.

TWO men were today beginning sentences totalling eight years after admitting being involved in large-scale drug dealing racket throughout Ipswich.

The men, who are both from Liverpool, admitted to different charges of supplying heroin and crack cocaine while based at a flat in Ipswich.

Leigh Clifton, 26, was charged with supplying both heroin and crack cocaine in September last year and Stephen Earle, 18, was charged with possessing class A drugs with an intent to supply.

Their arrests in September last year followed a police surveillance operation on the flat at St Francis Tower in Ipswich, which was already known to be a base for selling the drugs.


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Lindsey Cox, prosecuting, told Norwich Crown Court that during the surveillance operation Earle was captured on CCTV leaving the tower block and walking to a wasteland site, before returning to the flat.

The next day, he went to the same wasteland and seen discarding a package later discovered to be ten wraps of heroin and ten wraps of cocaine.

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A search of the wasteland discovered a further 50 wraps of each of the drugs hidden amongst bricks in a wall, these matched the wraps already discarded by Earle.

A large number of people were also seen to visit the flat for short periods of time.

When the pair were arrested Clifton was carrying £1,175 in cash, which he claimed was from car dealing, but in mitigation, Matthew Gowan told the court Clifton had pleaded guilty to the charges and later accepted the money was the proceeds of selling drugs.

Sentencing Clifton to five years in prison and Earle to three years in a young offenders institution, Judge David Mellor told the pair: "This was a substantial retail outlet in Ipswich with an established customer base. You both chose to involve yourself in this operation.

"Your involvement Earle was for a short period in commercial supply of class A drugs.

"Clifton you have a bad record, but not for drugs. This operation was more than mere street dealing."

Judge Mellor also ordered the confiscation of the money found on them and destruction of the drugs.

After the case Chief Inspector Dave Cole, of Ipswich police said: "I support and echo Judge Mellor's comments, this was a substantial dealing operation based in the centre of Ipswich"

"The efforts and tactics employed in this case highlight the extent to which Suffolk Police will go to secure evidence against drug dealers operating in the town.

"The operation was a success and as illustrated in the recent Operation Taurus arrests, this highlights our continued fight in Ipswich against drug dealers.

"The message I would want to send to those dealing in drugs is that I will guarantee that you will receive focused attention from Suffolk Constabulary as part of our continuing crackdown enforcement"

n. What do you think? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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