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Pushed out; pounds 500,000 drugs gang are behind bars for 27 years.

Byline: By GARETH DEIGHAN

THESE dealers in death have been jailed for 27 years after flooding the streets of Tyneside with up to pounds 500,000 worth of drugs.

Big-spending crime baron Peter Greenhill raked in thousands from his business selling wholesale hauls of cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis.

Greenhill, with his 'executive officer' Brian Coleman, masterminded a network of pushers from his base in North Shields.

The gang had a safe house where huge stashes of drugs were stored, cut and sent out for distribution across the region.

And by the time the ring was finally smashed, during undercover police operations codenamed Gnash and Gnasher, Newcastle Crown Court heard almost every room in a property on Kearsley Close, Seaton Delaval was coated in white powder.

The court heard that the drugs racket had been making the ringleaders up to pounds 21,000 a week.

Greenhill, 32, and Coleman, 27, both of Alnwick House, North Shields, even treated themselves to twin speedboats from their profits.

Jailing Greenhill for eight years, Judge Tony Lancaster said: "There are features of this case which show that substantial quantities of all classes of drugs were being sold for commercial gain.

"It is important to appreciate that the profits were in the order of pounds 100,000 and to make that drugs of a street value of at least pounds 300,000 and as high as pounds 500,000 had to be sold. The scale represents significant offending. The sums involved were remarkable."

Coleman was jailed for six-and-a-half years for his role.

Four others were also jailed after being caught under the same operation. David Hughes, 33, the tenant of the Kearsley Close safe house, was given five years behind bars; former boxer Gary Young, 27, of East Lea, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, jailed for four years three months; street dealer Ronnie Harmison, 25, of Emerson Road, Newbig-gin, two-and-a-half years; and Ross Wood, 18, of Gibson Street, also Newbiggin, 18 months in a young offenders' institution.

All six of the men admitted drug conspiracy charges to reflect their different roles and level of involvement in dealing.

DI John Cox, of crime operations at Northumbria Police, said: "This drugs ring was run as a business, bringing in massive profits to those involved.

"This was a joint operation involving Northumberland Area Command working with Crime Operations.

"We are extremely pleased with the sentences that have been handed down by the court. We hope this will act as a deterrent to those who may consider becoming involved in this lethal trade."

Operation Gnash/Gnasher was initiated by the Target Offender Unit, Northumberland Area Command in May 2006 and focused on the distribution of class A drugs within the Morpeth and Newbiggin-by-the-Sea areas.

Around 20,000 ecstasy tablets, 8 ounces of cocaine, 14 ounces of amphetamine, 13 kilos of cannabis resin and 17 grams of crystal ecstasy together valued at a potential street value of in excess pounds 120,000 were among drugs recovered.

In addition to the drugs, more than pounds 10,500 cash, four vehicles and two speed boats were also seized.

CAPTION(S):

RINGLEADER: Peter Anthony Greenhill; STREET DEALER: Ronnie Harmision; FORMER BOXER: Gary Young; FIVR YEARS: Bernard David Hughes; HUGE PROFITS Brian Coleman
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2007
Words:535
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