Drugs gang sentenced for £300,000 cocaine supply plot

Matthew Payne (top left), Adam Ritson (top right), Alan Williams (bottom left), Scott Sutherland (bottom right) Credit: ITV Border

Members of a £300,000 Carlisle cocaine supply gang - including a pensioner, a grandad and an ex-England schoolboy boxing champ - have been sentenced.

The trio were among seven men handed jail terms - some suspended - for plotting to supply the class A drug during a period spanning seven months last year.

Police smashed the major conspiracy and rounded up the criminals after mounting a covert operation code-named "Goose".

Officers also seized a kilo of cocaine and bulking agents from an address at Carlisle's Derwent Street.

Mixed together, the city's crown court heard, this could have produced 5,000 one-gram street deals.

Had the cocaine been diluted to a 13 per cent average "low quality" purity, the court heard, this would have given a 6kg total haul potentially worth up to £300,000.

Gang leader Scott Sutherland, 25, was aided by "trusted assistant" Matthew Payne - a 44-year-old grandfather - during a criminal enterprise run from the home of 70-year-old Alan Hudson Williams.

Sutherland, of Shawk Crescent, Thursby, was jailed for eight years today, while Payne, of Stanhope Road, and Williams were sent to prison for seven and five years, respectively.

Adam Ritson, 28, of Ruthella Street, Carlisle, played a lesser role and was jailed for four years.

Others played more limited parts. Hill, a 21-year-old ex-England schoolboy boxing champion, from Hawick Street, Carlisle; and Matthew Scott, 24, of Lingyclose Road, Dalston, each had 24-month prison terms suspended for two years.

Daniel Shield, a 26-year-old businessman from Yewdale Road, Carlisle, had an 18-month jail sentence suspended. Hill, Scott and Shield must also complete unpaid work.

All admitted conspiracy to supply the class A drug. Payne and Williams also admitted possession with intent to supply.

The court heard relatives of the gang members were "astonished" by their level of their criminal activity.

Recorder John Bromley-Davenport QC concluded the seven had been involved in "long-term, large scale drug-dealing".