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County lines drugs gang jailed - Warwick Crown Court

A county lines drugs gang that shipped hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs from Birmingham into Warwick and Leamington has today been jailed for more than 20 years.

The group made more than 300 shipments of crack cocaine and heroin into the towns between February 2015 and October 2016. Each shipment consisted of drugs with an estimated street value of between £500 - £1000.Michael John Hedli Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Michael John Hedli

The investigation into the gang was launched by the Warwickshire Police Serious Organised Crime Unit in 2015 after a number of local policing investigations identified the organised supply of drugs into the town.Paul Noel Hodgson Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Paul Noel Hodgson

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Alan Townsend from the Warwickshire Police Serious Organised Crime Unit said: "This was a well organised operation that saw drugs being transported into Warwickshire on an industrial scale. It was a typical county lines drugs business, with runners used to transport the goods from a large city into smaller townsSteven Kevin Bicknell Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Steven Kevin Bicknell

"The convictions follow a long and complex investigation and I'd like to praise the persistence and professionalism of everyone involved in the operation.

"Drug use fuels violence and petty crime, increasing pressure on police, health services and other public agencies; It's vital that we do all we can to cut off supply lines such as this and ensure those responsible are put behind bars.Shaan Ali Khan Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Shaan Ali Khan

"As with many investigations into serious organised crime groups, this investigation started following local operations carried out by local policing teams and the intelligence they gathered as a result of these operations.

"These local operations helped the serious organised crime unit to piece together the bigger picture and target those responsible.

"Intelligence provided by members of the public was key to bringing about this conviction. People should be reassured that we do act on all the information they provide about drug dealing in their communities and we do take action."Ian John Ward Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Ian John Ward

Details of those sentenced - all were sentenced for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin:

  • Michael John Hedli, 41, of Humphris Street, Warwick, was sentenced to 6 and a half years after being found guilty.
  • Paul Noel Hodgson, 26, of Holly Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, was sentenced to 3 and a half years after being found guilty.
  • Steven Kevin Bicknell, 33, of Field Barn Road, Hampton Magna, Warwickshire, was sentenced to 3 and a half years after being found guilty.
  • Shaan Ali Khan, aged 20, of Kenilworth, was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months after pleading guilty.
  • Ian John Ward, 45, of Wellesbourne Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to five and a half years after being found guilty.

Warwickshire Police's Protect campaign was started to tackle serious and organised crime in the county and the harm it causes.

Our broad-ranging campaign comprises four key areas of activity:

  • Pursue - prosecuting and disrupting those involved in SOC
  • Prevent - stopping individuals from becoming involved in SOC
  • Protect - increased levels of protection against SOC
  • Prepare - reducing the impact of SOC where it occurs

For more information go to www.warwickshire.police.uk/protect

If you have concerns about the use or supply of drugs you can report it on 101. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Issued: 4.05pm, Friday 23 November, Sam Cook, Corporate Communications

Published 23/11/18