Cousins from Gloucester jailed in cocaine trial

Two cousins from Coney Hill, Gloucester, who overturned their car while fleeing from police investigating a cocaine deal have been jailed.

Stuart Devlin, 41, of Birch Avenue, and Paul Mann, 43, of Ashgrove Way, admitted in May at Gloucester Crown Court to conspiring to supply cocaine.

Devlin was also convicted of dangerous driving while trying to evade arrest.

He was jailed for 11 years and six months, while Mann was jailed for four years and six months.

Judge Jamie Tabor said it was a "large scale conspiracy".

Hiding place

Gloucester Crown Court was told that in November 2010 Devlin and Mann were seen going into woodland off Sevenleaze Lane, near Painswick Road, in Edge.

Detectives later found cocaine wrapped up and buried by the base of an oak tree.

A week later another block of cocaine was found nearby and police set up an operation to arrest the pair when they returned to retrieve the drugs.

On 9 November Devlin and Mann drove into Sevenleaze Lane in a VW Golf estate and Mann returned to the same hiding place, recovering a package, the court heard.

Devlin then drove off with Mann as his passenger, but traffic police were waiting and attempted to stop the pair.

Devlin refused to stop, but in his attempt to avoid capture he drove up a grass verge flipping his vehicle on to its roof.

'High purity'

Neither were seriously hurt, but were taken to hospital as a precaution.

At the scene, and within their vehicle, police later recovered a further package of cocaine, the cutting agent benzocaine, and other items including latex gloves and a set of electronic scales.

Speaking outside court, Det Insp Neil Carpenter said the pair clearly thought they were above the law.

"The drugs they were handling - which had a total street value of over £200,000 - were most likely destined for sale within the county, were of high purity, and clearly had the potential to cause harm and misery.

"Devlin in particular thought he could escape capture even until the bitter end. He was, in fact, on licence from a 15-year prison sentence for his part in ecstasy importation when he was arrested for this offence."

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