Men jailed after police seize drugs with street value of more than £4.1 million (From Redditch Advertiser)
Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting RA NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Men jailed after police seize drugs with street value of more than £4.1 million
1:00pm Wednesday 20th June 2012 in News
A ‘WAREHOUSEMAN’ and three drug couriers have been jailed following a police swoop on a Redditch business park which led to cannabis with a street value of just over £4.1 million being seized.
Malcolm Masters, who was said to be ‘at the hub’ of the enterprise, Keith Langton and James Pratt had all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis.
Two other men, Arvinder Brar and Brian Randall denied the charge, but were found guilty following a Warwick Crown Court trial.
Langton, aged 29, of Goodrich Close, Redditch, who acted as Masters’ ‘warehouseman’, was jailed for four years.
Pratt, aged 28, of Wolverson Road, Walsall, was jailed for two after the judge gave him credit for his plea, while Brar, 38, from Hayes, Middlesex, and Randall, aged 60, from Benfleet, Essex, were both jailed for three years.
Sentence on Masters, aged 52, of Banners Lane, Redditch, was adjourned, and he was remanded in custody by Judge Marten Coates, who commented that he believed Masters was “at the hub of the conspiracy”.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood said in April last year, police were keeping Unit C4 on the Imex Business Park in Redditch under surveillance and saw an articulated lorry arrive from Holland at 9.30am.
Although officers could not see what was unloaded, it was a ‘reasonable inference’ that the drugs which were later seized had been shipped in that lorry.
At noon Langton arrived by motorbike and was seen taking several flat-pack boxes into the unit where they were used to package the drugs for distribution.
During the afternoon Masters made three trips in a Isuzu 4x4 to a car park where, in turn, he met up with Pratt, Randall and Brar who had arrived in other vehicles.
Leaving Pratt to wait on the car park, Masters drove the Fiat Ducato in which Pratt had arrived back to the unit where it was loaded with cannabis and then back to the carpark.
He carried out an identical procedure with the Transit van being driven by Randall.
Pratt was stopped as he drove along the A441 towards the M42, and officers found 390 kilos of cannabis resin which had a potential street value of just over £1 million.
Randall was arrested when he stopped for a break at the Warwick services on the M40. The Transit contained 180 kilos of herbal cannabis worth up to £1,285,000.
Meanwhile other officers raided the unit while Masters was there loading Brar’s Toyota people-carrier, having left Brar on the car park where he waited in vain for some time before making his way home by another means.
In the unit the police found a further 107 kilos of skunk cannabis, 297 kilos of resin and 69.4 kilos of compressed seeded cannabis with a combined potential value of £1.8m.
Mr Heywood said altogether police had seized various types of cannabis with a street value of just over £4.1m.
At Masters’s home they found cash, laundry bags like those used to parcel up the drugs at the unit, and a phone on which he had received calls from Langton, Pratt and Randall.
Of Langton, Mr Heywood said: “We describe him as the warehouseman. He was there not simply carrying a load from A-B.”
Mr Heywood said Langton had a lengthy record, but nothing for drugs, and Pratt had no convictions since 2006, with only minor matters before then.
But he pointed out that Masters had been jailed for 30 months in 1994 for possessing cannabis within intent to supply and for 10 years in 2000 for conspiracy to supply.
Nick Devine, for Langton, who he said had spent about 15 months on remand in custody, said: “He had no managerial or organisational role; he was down at the bottom.”
Michael Anning, for Pratt, who had spent a similar period on remand, submitted: “He was very much on the lowest rung of involvement.
“He had no knowledge of the wider conspiracy or of any wider activity which was going on.”