Barnsley man jailed for dealing drug 50 times stronger than morphine

Gareth Featherstone
Gareth Featherstone

A Barnsley man has been jailed for five years for dealing a drug 50 times stronger than morphine.

Gareth Featherstone, aged 38, was caught when officers in the town launched Operation Armeni in a crackdown on drug dealing in Barnsley last July and August and placed the Hopwood Street block of flats where he lived under 24-hour surveillance over three separate days.

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Police officers identified 300 people who they believed visited the flats specifically to buy drugs.

A number of police raids led to the discovery of the painkiller Fentanyl, mixed primarily with heroin.

Other drugs, including crack cocaine, morphine, methadone and temazepam were also found.

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Featherstone was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court after pleading guilty to seven counts of possession with intent to supply drugs.

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PC John Crawford said: "Following intelligence gathered and information from members of the public, we became aware that flats on Hopwood Street were possibly being used in connection to drug dealing.

"As a result, over the course of two months we carried out a number of warrants which ultimately recovered large quantities of Class A and Class C drugs. These were forensically tested and subsequently found to be Fentanyl, mixed primarily with heroin. Other drugs, including crack cocaine, morphine, methadone and temazepam were also found.

"As part of the operation we also worked closely alongside the council to carry out three 24-hour surveillance periods of the flats, during which over 300 people visited the building, most likely to buy drugs."

He added: "This was a complex investigation, involving a lot of work from key partner agencies, including Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, and I’m pleased that Featherstone has been jailed and we were able to remove these dangerous drugs from the streets of Barnsley.

"The supply, possession, distribution and use of drugs can have life-changing impacts on people and create long-term issues in local communities.

"Fentanyl itself is 50 times more potent than morphine, meaning even extremely small quantities can prove fatal.

"Our team recovered a substantial amount of this drug, alongside other Class A and C drugs, which after analysis were estimated to be worth around £5,000.

"Around £7,000 in cash was also recovered, which has been retained by the courts.

"I'm relieved that these drugs have now been removed from the streets of Barnsley and cannot cause any further harm."