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Police crackdown on drug gangs in Newcastle

Drugs seized from a property in Newcastle Credit: Northumbria Police

Police have warned that no-one is above the law after the ring leader of a drug gang in Newcastle was jailed.

Mark Johnston, 43, of North Avenue in Westerhope, was sentenced to 18 years in prison yesterday after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Milner, of Northumbria Police, said:

Johnston was at the head of an organised crime group involved in drug supply across Newcastle and while the city has no more of a problem with drugs than any other city of its size, this is the response those involved can expect.

The main ring leader will now spend a considerable amount of time in prison and an organised crime groups activity has been significantly disrupted.

Operation Magnet is our response to priority and organised crime and our message is simple - anyone who is involved in the supply of drugs can expect to be visited by police and similar action taken.

– Detective Chief Inspector Paul Milner, Northumbria Police

Newcastle drug dealer jailed for 18 years

Mark Johnston, 43, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for conspiracy to supply class A drugs Credit: Northumbria Police

A drug dealer from Newcastle has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Mark Johnston, 43, of North Avenue in Westerhope, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs at Newcastle Crown Court earlier this year. He was given an 18 year prison sentence on Friday.

Johnston was arrested last year as part of a large scale operation targeting drug dealing and organised crime. Police carried out 15 warrants across Newcastle, making numerous arrests and seizing cash and drugs as part of the operation.

Cash seized from a van during Operation Magnet Credit: Northumbria Police

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"Police will learn the lessons" - Vera Baird

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has responded to the announcement 54 rape cases are to be re-opened.

This is after a recent audit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found some reports of rape in the North East may have been incorrectly recorded as "no crime".

Vera Baird says the force took immediate action, acting before the publication of the report, and are the only force which has taken such a strong stance on the issue, though many forces have far higher rates of 'no criming' than Northumbria.

"The action being taken is right and will get to the root of the issues and I am confident that progress is being made and victims are being dealt with sensitively and appropriately.

“I am continuing to monitor the situation closely and receive weekly updates from the Chief Constable. Where mistakes have been made and, all the more if there has been any falling short of duty, the police will learn the lessons. The Chief Constable and I are determined to ensure the service offered to victims of serious sexual crime is of the very highest standard.”

– Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner

54 rape cases to be re-investigated

Northumbria Police has re-opened 54 rape cases for further investigation. It follows an audit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which showed some rape cases may have been incorrectly recorded as 'no crime'.

The Chief Constable of Northumbria ordered further checks to be made on all such reports since October 2011. A team of experienced officers looked at 153 cases and have decided 54 require further investigation.

"Each case will be reinvestigated by the review team. This will include contacting the victims in these identified cases and our main priority is to support them through this process.

“We are progressing this speedily but thoroughly, mindful of the impact this can have on victims when we speak to them again about their experiences.

“I want to reassure anyone reporting such crimes to us that we will listen to them, take them seriously, investigate thoroughly and bring offenders to justice whenever we can.”

– Superintendent Neil Adamson

48 officers who were involved in the cases identified in the audit, and those who supervised the investigations, have been served with formal notifications and those in the Rape Investigation Team have been moved to other teams. Northumbria Police says this is standard procedure and a temporary measure.

“This does not necessarily mean they are guilty of serious issues. This is entirely dependent on the findings of the investigation. If any officer has failed to reach the high standards expected of them rest assured this will be dealt with through the proper procedures.

– Superintendent Neil Adamson

Following the re-opening of cases a 50 year old man has been arrested in the Slatyford area of Newcastle in connection with a rape in March this year and has been bailed.

Woman raped in Newcastle club smoking area

A woman in her 20s has been raped in the smoking area of a nightclub in Newcastle.

It was reported just before 5am this morning. She was attacked in the area between Perdu and Blackie Boy on Collingwood Street in the city centre.

Detectives say enquiries are in their early stages. They are speaking to the victim and examining CCTV from the surrounding area.

Anyone with information should contact police.

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Police appeal for missing man

Dominic Broadley Credit: Northumbria Police
Dominic Broadley Credit: Northumbria Police
Dominic Broadley Credit: Northumbria Police

Police are continuing to appeal for information to trace a missing Northumberland man.

Dominic Broadley, 36, from the Morpeth area, has not been seen since around 4.45pm on Friday, August 22, when he got out of a family member's car in the Newcastle west area.

He is believed to have used an ATM on September 20, at the Spar at Wolsingham in Weardale, County Durham.

And he has been seen to use ATMs in the Cumbria area, first on September 23 at the village shop at Main Street in Brough, and then again on September 25 at Barclays at Main Street in Sedbergh.

Dominic is described as white, 5 feet 9" tall, slim build, with short mousy brown hair which is unkempt. He was last seen wearing a black jumper, blue jeans, trainers and glasses.

He has connections to Gateshead, Whitley Bay, Sunderland and the Consett areas.

Police and his family are concerned for his welfare and are carrying out enquiries to locate him.

Officers are appealing for Dominic to make contact with them, or anyone who recognises him is asked to call police.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Dominic should contact police on 101, quoting reference 969 22/08/14.

PCC calls for schools to teach about domestic violence

Vera Baird QC GB Labour MP Redcar Credit: The Labour Party/Press Association Images

The Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, is today calling for schools to teach children about domestic violence.

Speaking at an event at Northumbria University, she aims to voice the importance for young people to learn that non-violent relationships are healthy and normal.

Vera Baird is working with the Labour party to propose changes to the national curriculum.

CCTV images released after £200 worth of meat stolen

CCTV image Credit: Northumbria Police

Police investigating a theft of meat from a Northumberland shop have released CCTV of two men they need to speak to.

£200 worth of meat was stolen around 4pm on Tuesday, 29th July at a Co-op at Southend Avenue in Blyth.

Police investigating have released CCTV images of two men they need to speak to who it's believed may be able to help with their enquiries.

CCTV image Credit: Northumbria Police
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