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'Major' drug dealers jailed for 26 years

PUBLISHED: 16:27 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 July 2010

THREE drug dealers have been jailed for a total of 26 years for supplying cocaine and heroin in the Great Yarmouth area.

Karl Benjafield, Steven Beckett and Keith Miller admitted supplying Class A drugs at an earlier hearing and were today sentenced at Norwich Crown Court.

THREE drug dealers have been jailed for a total of 26 years for supplying cocaine and heroin in the Great Yarmouth area.

Karl Benjafield, Steven Beckett and Keith Miller admitted supplying Class A drugs at an earlier hearing and were today sentenced at Norwich Crown Court.

Benjafield, 45 of Beccles Road, Gorleston, was jailed for 12 years while Beckett, 30, and Miller, 25, both of Frederick Road, Gorleston were each jailed for seven years.

The court heard that Benjafield had led an organised crime network in the Yarmouth area which specialised in dealing bulk quantities of cocaine and heroin to lower level dealers across the town.

The network was uncovered following detailed investigation launched in May last year by specialist officers from Norfolk Constabulary's Drugs and Serious Crime Squad.

Police tracked Benjafield and his associates through covert surveillance - and as a result of the investigation and a surprise find of a large quantity of drugs by a member of public - Benajfield, Beckett and Miller were arrested by the police.

Officers pieced together a detailed account of how Benjafield arranged the distribution and sale of sizeable quantities of drugs and how he arranged for the collection of debts. The team also uncovered how Benjafield dealt with suppliers, organised his network and how money was collected.

The court also heard that firearms were used by the network and that Benjafield would organise the drug distribution and collection of debts from his blue Nissan Patrol 4x4 vehicle.

In February last year three containers were found concealed in a hollow in the ground covered by fabric at the base of a newly-planted tree at the eastern end of Colomb Road, Gorleston, by a member of the public and her two children.

Police were called to the scene and discovered the containers held a substantial quantity of brown powder.

Following forensic examination, the contents of the containers were shown to be 271.34 grams of heroin with a maximum street value of £27,134.

Det Sgt Craig Ives said: “We are confident that Benjafield is a major player on the drugs scene in Yarmouth. We know that he headed up a substantial and sophisticated organised crime group, of which Miller and Beckett were a part.

“This man dealt large quantities of drugs in the town and was responsible for a major share of the overall drug supply in Yarmouth.

“He was very well organised with a large number of contacts and he was involved in not only selling bulk supplies of drugs to other dealers but would also be responsible for enforcing the collection of cash and debts with significant violence.”

Det Sgt Ives said the sentences sent out a clear message that police are tackling drug crime across the board - from low level offenders to the top dealers of criminal networks.

He added: “I am pleased to say that the removal of this trio from the streets will seriously disrupt drug dealing in the Yarmouth area and I am hopeful that these sentences will deter other offenders.”

Supt Jim Smerdon, who is responsible for policing in Yarmouth, said: “The offenders, Benjafield in particular, are all very well-known in our town.

“They have been responsible for supplying Class A drugs on our streets and it is extremely good news for our local communities that they are now facing significant jail sentences.

“We are committed to keeping our streets safe and we are committed to tackling drug crime and the misery and fear it causes among the majority of hardworking and law-abiding people and I hope today's result sends this message out loud and clear.”

Norfolk Constabulary's Economic Crime Unit will now be taking a detailed look at the assets of Benjafield, Miller and Beckett in preparation for a confiscation order.

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