A DRUGS gang caught with heroin and crack cocaine in Worcester and who beat up addicts, have been jailed for a combined total of over nine years.

Kane Cooper, 19, of Elmdon Road, Wolverhampton, Brandon Elsmore, 19, of St Anne's Road, Wolverhampton, and Ryan McGoldrick, 20, of Catsfield Crescent, Wolverhampton, were sentenced at Worcester Crown Court earlier today.

The Worcester News previously reported on the three when they were found not guilty of clown mask armed robbery at a Great Witley garage, after that trial collapsed due to lack of evidence last year.

Appearing on a video link all three - who had pleaded guilty to the offences at an earlier magistrates court hearing - laughed and messed around at various points during the sentencing hearing.

Prosecuting Rachel Pennington told the court that police were in Windermere Drive to carry out a drug warrant when they saw two men and a third in a Polo on August 7.

A search of the three, and of the vehicle, found wraps of cocaine and heroin, £225 in notes, nine wraps of cocaine at the Windermere address, and further drugs at a second Worcester address.

Miss Pennington said Cooper and McGoldrick also gave false names to police when arrested, while a lock knife was found in the car with a thumb print which belonged to McGoldrick,

Miss Pennington said on the same day of the arrest, after being released on police bail and told to leave Worcestershire, Cooper and McGoldrick carried out assaults on two drug users they supplied to at the Windermere Drive address - used as a base to deal drugs.

During the assaults the woman was kicked and sent into chairs, while the man was punched and kicked, breaking his ribs.

Lee Masters, for Elsmore, said he was an impressionable young man who along with his co-defendants had acted on the orders of others.

"He is only 19," Mr Masters said.

"This has been his first taste of custody, and it will come as no surprise he has not found it a very enjoyable experience."

Nicholas Berry for McGoldrick said that a mitigating factor on the obstructing a police office was that both he, and co-defendant Cooper, were interviewed under the correct name, so the lying had been for only a short period.

Mr Berry said McGoldrick had not brandished the knife and as he had no previous convictions there was a low risk of him reoffending.

"He is ashamed and remorseful," Mr Berry added.

Nicholas Smith, for Cooper, said the 19-year-old had got into the wrong crowd and was expelled from school which led to him continuing to be in trouble, including previous convictions for theft and possession of cannabis.

"He accepts he has to be punished for what he has done, but I ask for you to keep the sentence as low as possible," Mr Smith said.

Judge Robert Juckes QC explained he was giving the three custodial sentences as the courts try to stop the trafficking of drugs to Worcester, as those who become addicted go on to commit further offences.

"I accept you were not the original source of the drugs - it matters not," the judge said.

"It was street dealing. It was easy money."

Cooper was jailed for 42 months and given a 12 month driving ban for being involved in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin, possession of class A drugs, ABH, common assault, obstructing a police officer, and driving with no license and no insurance.

McGoldrick was also jailed for 42 months for being involved in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin, possession of class A drugs, ABH, obstructing a police officer and possession of a bladed article.

Elsmore was jailed for 30 months for being involved in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin and possession of class A drugs.

All three must also pay a £170 victim surcharge.

Following the sentencing, Sergeant Simon Hallam from West Mercia Police said: "This investigation was led by Gorsehill and Warndon Safer Neighbourhood Team officers as part of Operation Blade, an ongoing operation to target suspected county-lines drug dealing within South Worcestershire.

"From concerns raised within the community, officers conducted the warrant in August which subsequently led to the arrest, charge and ultimate conviction of these offenders.

"As part of Operation Blade, we have been also been working with partner agencies to ensure the ongoing safeguarding of potential 'cuckoo' victims and to prevent further drug supply activities.

"This proactive approach relies on information being reported by members of our communities, and we would therefore encourage any residents with concerns on drug dealing within their local area to please report it.

"The more information a community passes to us, the safer we can make it.

"I'd like to thank both the Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the CID officers who were involved within this investigation, as well as our partner agencies, and those members of the community who came forward to raise their concerns.

"As a result, the offenders have now been bought to justice for their actions, and I hope this case serves as a deterrent for anyone considering embarking on a similar venture."