THE BIGGEST police drugs operation South Yorkshire has ever seen - set up to tackle gang violence and murder - was hailed a success today after seven more dealers were locked up.
The operation, which began in August 2009 and has now concluded has seen 83 men, women and juveniles put behind bars for a total of around 150 years or given community sentences.
Police launched Operation Mach after a spate of murders, stabbings and shootings involving members of postcode gangs.
The aim was to deter city youngsters from getting caught up in gangs and drug dealing.
Sentencing the last batch of
defendants, Judge Alan Goldsack QC praised the police and said the sentences should act as a clear warning to drug dealers that ‘the long arm of the law will reach those involved’.
Sheffield Crown Court heard plain clothes officers snared dealers selling cocaine and heroin near schools, in children’s parks and outside places of worship across Sheffield.
The youngest to be convicted was just 13.
In the latest cases Richard Pidcock, 40, of HMP Moorlands, was jailed for three years and a day.
Jamaine Anderson, 26, of Low Edges Crescent, Low Edges, Daniel Anderson, 32, of Gloucester Street, Broomhall, Ramone Robinson, 19 of Weldrake Road, Firth Park, Fabien McLaren, 19, of Beldon Close, Arbourthorne, and Joshua James, 19, of Raleigh Road, Heeley, were jailed for a total of six years, four months.
All were found guilty of selling heroin, crack cocaine or cannabis on the city’s streets.
Superintendent Peter Norman said he devised the operation after residents living in communities blighted by drugs raised repeated concerns about their safety.
He said gangsters even turned up to public meetings to intimidate residents and see who was passing on information to the police.
Supt Norman said: “This was a multi-agency operation targeting criminal gangs who consisted of young men suspected of supplying drugs.
“Traditional policing methods had failed to make the desired impact and it was becoming clear a disproportionate number of young people and local residents were being affected by a growing problem.
“It is critically important young people in Sheffield feel safe and are safe within their communities.”
He added: “This sends out a clear message to anyone thinking of getting involved in drug dealing.
“If you think its safe to deal drugs or be involved in gang-related crime in South Yorkshire, it is not.
“If you think communities will tolerate you, you are wrong. If you think people are afraid to tell us who you are, you are wrong.
“Drugs and violence ruin lives. We will never tolerate it and we will arrest you wherever and whenever we can.”