A TRUSTED lieutenant in a £400,000 cocaine conspiracy and the street dealers who peddled the drug in Worcester were jailed this time two years ago.

Ringleaders Ashley James and James Jones, and middle man Todd Porter, are all serving long jail sentences after being found guilty by a jury at Worcester Crown Court, we reported in December 2017.

On Friday, Maurice James, and street dealers Samuel Mann and James Southall, who admitted their roles in supply of the cocaine, were also jailed for conspiracy to supply class A drugs at Worcester Crown Court.

Southall also admitted a section 20 wounding while on bail for the drugs matters after he glassed Constantin Palumbo in the Pig and Drum pub in Lowesmoor, Worcester.

A further defendant, Ben Trainer, admitted perverting the course of justice but played no role in the drugs conspiracy.

Judge Robert Juckes QC sentenced on the basis that the conspiracy lasted between 2013 and 2015 and that the gang brought 12kg of cocaine to Worcester, much of it from Liverpool.

Sophie Murray, prosecuting, said street dealer Mann was arrested shortly after meeting with Todd Porter on August 6, 2015.

He was arrested and found with 26.8g of cocaine worth between £2,240 and £2,800, admitting the offence in September this year.

Southall, also a street dealer, was arrested on August 10, 2015 with 84.9g of cocaine with a street value of between £4,800 and £5,400.

James, cousin of ringleader Ashley James, was arrested on a train between Worcester and Liverpool with £52,000 in cash on October 3, 2015.

James also bought a ‘dirty phone’ specifically for the Liverpool trip.

Ms Murray said: “He would have been a trusted lieutenant of Ashley James to be trusted with that amount of money to go to Liverpool.”

Ben Trainer admitted perverting the course of justice.

Trainer rang Magnet Kitchens to persuade a manager there to tell police that a kitchen purchased by Ashley James was a former display model and understate the price.

The manager refused to lie to police who were at the time investigating the money laundering from the proceeds of cocaine dealing.

Ashley James was acquitted of perverting the course of justice in relation to this at the trial. Judge Juckes said he would bear this in mind when sentencing Trainer.

Southall glassed Constantin Palumbo at the Pig and Drum in Lowesmoor, Worcester on August 5 this year. CCTV footage of the unprovoked attack was played in court. The force of the blow knocked him backwards off a bench and he suffered cuts to his nose and face and a swollen black eye.

Ms Murray said the attack resulted in ‘permanent scarring.’

Suzanne Francis, representing James, said he had suffered greatly from the death of his father which had led him to use cocaine, the use of which had resulted in anxiety and paranoia.

He had agreed to transport the cocaine to Liverpool to clear a £2,000 drugs debt, money he owed to his cousin, Ashley James.

She said James had provided the crown with evidence used in the trial and this was difficult given his family connection to Ashley James.

Judge Juckes QC said James had shown ‘particular courage’ in entering his guilty plea which must have been against the wishes of Ashley James who had mounted what the judge called ‘an absurd defence’.

Charles Hamer, for Trainer, said he had ‘glowing testimonials’, which were handed to the judge, and was working hard to develop his business.

Harpreet Sandhu, for Southall, asked that he be given credit for his guilty plea.

He said of the wounding that Southall was drunk and believed he was being goaded after a ‘misunderstanding.’

Daniel Green, for Mann, described him as a street level dealer who had had a good job working as an electrical engineer with a salary of £42,000 a year. A letter from his mother, who is battling cancer, was given to the court.

A letter from Mann was also produced in which he expressed remorse. He is now clean of drugs Mr Green said.

Judge Robert Juckes QC said: “It’s known and it doesn’t need repeating by me just what devastating consequences the sale and use of cocaine on the streets of this city, every city, has.”

Mann, 26, of Larkspur Road, Worcester, was jailed for 30 months.

Southall, 33, of Canterbury Road, Ronkswood, Worcester, was jailed for 54 months.

James, 42, of Nash Road, Martley was jailed for 30 months.

Trainer, 26, of Marsh Avenue, Worcester, received a six month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and was ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work.

West Mercia Police Detective Chief Inspector Carl Moore said after the hearing: “We are pleased with this result which is the culmination of many months of investigation. Thanks to the diligence of officers and other investigating staff as well as the support and cooperation of the local community, we have been able to reduce the availability of drugs and the threat of drug related violence in Worcester.”