No hiding place for Wolverhampton drug dealers as 23 jailed in crackdown

They were raids designed to send a defiant message to drug dealing gangs in the Black Country.

And now a total of 23 people are behind bars after being sentenced for their roles in illegal drug operations.

Their combined sentences will stretch for 50 years - but police have already stressed that more will follow.

Top row L-R: Aaron Tanner-Khan, Aaron Westhead, Adam Tanner-Khan, Alexander Jackson, Antoine Miles. Second row L-R: Callon Jones, Christopher Esson, Declan McCalla, Gary Newton, Delroy Wilson, Gavin Hyde. Third row L-R: Gavin Williamson, Keelan Burke, Lance Wafer, Nathan Huthwaite, Michael Lewis, Phillip Chell. Fourth row L-R: Rachel Jones, Rikki Burton, Sam Rogers, Scott Cousins, Shenrick Campbell, Patrick McNeil
Top row L-R: Aaron Tanner-Khan, Aaron Westhead, Adam Tanner-Khan, Alexander Jackson, Antoine Miles. Second row L-R: Callon Jones, Christopher Esson, Declan McCalla, Gary Newton, Delroy Wilson, Gavin Hyde. Third row L-R: Gavin Williamson, Keelan Burke, Lance Wafer, Nathan Huthwaite, Michael Lewis, Phillip Chell. Fourth row L-R: Rachel Jones, Rikki Burton, Sam Rogers, Scott Cousins, Shenrick Campbell, Patrick McNeil

They began Operation No Deal in Wolverhampton 18 months ago and launched several dawn raids late last summer.

A few months later those involved - 23 men, one woman and one youth - have been put through the court system and sentenced.

The aim of the Wolverhampton No Deal campaign was to rid the area of street level drug dealing.

To do this it targeted key drug dealers but also aimed to reduce the demand for drugs by pointing users towards drug treatment schemes.

And a total of 25 people have now been sentenced after pleaded guilty to class A drug dealing.

The longest prison term was given to Lance Wafer, aged 27 and of Luce Road in Low Hill, who was jailed for five years.

Fellow Low Hill men Gary Newton, 38 of Fourth Avenue and Patrick McNeil, 22 of First Avenue, were given four years.

Today police chiefs welcomed the sentences handed down at Birmingham Crown Court, but warned criminals that their investigations were continuing apace.

Wolverhampton Police Superintendent Paul Drover led the operation.

He appealed for the public’s support in continuing to crack down on drug dealing.

He said: “This latest phase of court appearances is by no means the end, we will continue to work with our partners to try to eradicate drugs from the city’s streets and help those individuals who wish to break their drug addiction.

“We are very aware that by taking action against a number of individuals, this opens the door to the next wave of dealers.

“We will continue to do everything we can to try to stop this happening and take action against those criminals.

“We need the public’s continued help and would encourage anyone with information about dealing or drug taking in their area to call us.

“I hope we have shown that we take all information very seriously and will act upon it.”

Other long sentences were handed out to Gavin Williamson, of Heath Town and Antoine Miles, from The Scotlands.

Williamson, 28 of Burton Road and Miles, 23 of Kipling Road, both got four years while Aaran Tanner-Khan, 27 and of Wood End Road, Wednesfield, received a term of three years and nine months.

Meanwhile teenager Keelan Burke, 19 and of Dovedale Avenue, Willenhall, was jailed for three years.

Three-and-a-half-year terms were given to Shenrick Campbell, 20 of Field Street, Springfield, Sam Rogers, 22 of Snape Road in Ashmore Park and Scott Cousins, 31 of Orchard Road in Wednesfield.

Michael Lewis is led away in handcuffs after being arrested

A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.

Last summer police said that as a direct result of Operation No Deal they had seen an increase in the number of people calling them to give information on gang and drug activity.

Officers began gathering intelligence on people dealing hard drugs in specific areas of the city 18 months ago.

Last September police swooped on these people during a series of early morning raids, when 48 people were arrested.

The first took place in Heath Town, Park Village, Ettingshall and Willenhall on September 24, when 280 officers swooped on 14 addresses.

Police chiefs said they had sent a message to criminals in the city and that the operation was based on significant and extensive information collated by a dedicated team of officers.

The No Deal raids followed months of undercover surveillance.

Police formulated the operation after a series of shootings in the city in early 2012.

They talked to people throughout Wolverhampton who told them that gangs and drug dealing were significant issues that needed to be tackled.

A large team of officers collected what chiefs described as ‘significant and extensive information’ before planning the raids.

Jail sentences dished out in blitz on dealers

*Lance Wafer, aged 27 from Luce Road, Low Hill, jailed for five years;

*Gavin Williamson, aged 28 from Burton Road, Heath Town, jailed for four years;

*Antoine Miles, aged 23 from Kipling Road, The Scotlands, jailed for four years;

*Patrick McNeill, aged 22 from First Avenue, Low Hill, jailed for four years;

*Gary Newton, aged 38 from Fourth Avenue, Low Hill, jailed four years;

*Aaran Tanner-Khan, aged 27 from Wood End Road, Wednesfield, jailed for three years and nine months;

*Shenrick Campbell, aged 20 from Field Street, Springfield, jailed for three and a half years;

*Sam Rogers, aged 22 from Snape Road, Ashmore Park, jailed for three and a half years;

*Scott Cousins, aged 31 from Orchard Road, Wednesfield, jailed for three and a half years;

*Michael Lewis, aged 38 from Campion House, Hobgate Road, Heath Town, jailed for three years;

*Keelan Burke, aged 19 from Dovedale Avenue, Willenhall, jailed for three years;

*Delroy Wilson, aged 40 of Bridgnorth Road, Compton, jailed for three years;

*Nathan Huthwaite, aged 21 of no fixed address, jailed fgor three years;

*Adam Tanner-Khan, aged 29 from Wood End Road, Wednesfield, jailed for two years and 10 months;

*Rikki Burton, aged 22 from Westcroft Avenue, Low Hill, jailed for two years;

*Phillip Chell, aged 34 of no fixed address, jailed for two years;

*Gavin Hyde, aged 31 from Mills Close, Wednesfield, jailed for 18 months;

*Declan McCalla, aged 19 from Croft Lane, Low Hill, jailed for 18 months;

*Alexander Jackson, aged 28 from Hart Road, Wednesfield, jailed for 18 months;

*Rachel Jones, aged 28 from St Annes Road, Fordhouses, jailed for 15 months;

*Aaron Westhead, aged 21 from Ellerton Walk, Park Village, jailed for 15 months;

*Christopher Esson, aged 19 of no fixed address, jailed for 15 months;

*Callon Jones, aged 23 from Guy Avenue, Low Hill, jailed for a year;

*Paul Smith, aged 40 from Shelley Road, Bushbury, received a two year suspended sentence for 18 months;

*A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.