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Court hears gang used hollowed out loaves to run drugs as Solihull man jailed

A YOUNG man from Solihull has been jailed for his part in a massive drugs network.

A YOUNG man from Solihull has been jailed for his part in a massive drugs network.

Richard Boothman, 24, has received a six-year prison sentence after being convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.

Police have spent two years dismantling the gang, with 23 members imprisoned – between them they will serve over 80 years behind bars.

Operation Variation began in 2009 and tackled a sophisticated set-up, which was pumping hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs onto UK streets.

Boothman was one of the last three members to be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (February 25).

Andrew Hayes, 53, from Sheldon, and Michelle Hornblow, 32, from Yardley, were also slapped with jail terms of seven and three years respectively.

At the top of the chain was Terry Gardner, 27, of Kitts Green, who was jailed for ten years last Wednesday.

A series of cannabis factories were used to supply dealers and the gang found increasingly ingenious ways to smuggle the illegal substances.

In one instance, drugs had been hidden inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread.

Waging war on the criminals, police have seized over £80,000 cash and a drugs supply worth almost £200,000.

Neil Fielding, a CPS lawyer, described drugs gangs as “a blight” on ordinary people.

“Drug dealers have complete disregard for the suffering they cause individuals, their families and local communities.”

Det Insp Bob Bradford, from West Midlands Police, said efforts were underway to strip the gang of their ill-gotten gains.



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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