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Garden Centre drugs sentencing

December 4, 2012, 11:19 am

Eight men who used trips to garden centers as a cover for multi-million pound Class ‘A’ drugs deals were sentenced today to over 59 years imprisonment.

The drugs gang was smashed by the Metropolitans police’s Central Task Force team as part of an ongoing operation targeting drug supply across London.

Kingston Crown Court heard how Vincent Hayward, 41 of Cranbrook Drive, Berkshire was watched by the specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police in January 2012 making an exchange of bagged items with a Stephen Humpheries, 37, of Lammas Court, Berkshire in a peaceful Windsor Garden Centre.

Officers on the intelligence led operation then followed Hayward and witnessed him stashing the items in a lock-up premises near his home address.

Hayward then returned to the garden centre to make yet another exchange. The Central Task Force officers then swooped into action stopping Hayward on his driveway where he was found in possession of nearly £200,000 and a quantity of cocaine. A subsequent search of his lock-up recovered MDMA pills, cash, a money counting machine and 1kg of pure cocaine.

Police investigations would later find that two other men – Kerry Reed, 34, of Magdalene Road, Middlesex and Michael Reed 61 of Elm Place, Middlesex – were working with Humpheries effectively acting as middle men in the drug exchanges and supply of cocaine to Hayward. When arrested they were found in possession of 2kg of pure cocaine.

The team behind the cocaine supply was also unravelled as part of the intrepid police work by the MPS’s Central Task Force. Paul Kelly, 33, of Mytchett Road, Surrey, Luke Kelly, 27 of Lynwood Drive, Surrey and David Brannigan, 34, of Bain Avenue, Surrey were all identified as persons responsible for the movement of drugs within the tranquil garden centre. After being stopped and arrested at a nearby pub, a vehicle search would uncover £100,000 hidden in their van.

A 63-year-old man, Rodney Goodyer, of Anderson Crescent, Reading, was found to have acted as the custodian of the drugs with the role of bringing the cocaine to the garden centre prior to the middle men picking it up. A search of his home address revealed a mixing station with various amounts of cocaine of differing purity totalling approximately 3kgs and other related drug paraphernalia as well as a quantity of cash.

In total, just over £2.2 million pounds worth of cocaine was seized by police working on this case along with nearly £300k in cash.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Wagstaff of the MPS Serious and Organised Crime unit was proud of the work of his team. He said “The sentences today are the result of some outstanding examples of detective ability and teamwork. Officers from the Central Task Force have yet again demonstrated their capability to address the offending of the most serious and organised criminals and they along with other key teams within the MPS continue to work tirelessly to target such offenders.”

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