Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire farmers jailed over £1m drugs ring

Philip Cox (l) and Stephen Payne
Image caption Philip Cox and Stephen Payne often changed phones in an attempt to avoid surveillance

Two Lincolnshire farmers who ran a drug trafficking ring have each been jailed for 11 years.

Philip Cox, 41, from Jubilee Road, North Somercotes, and Stephen Payne, 43, from Pear Tree Lane, Fulstow, admitted supplying Class A drugs.

Lincoln Crown Court heard a 17-month police investigation found heroin and cocaine with street value of £1m was distributed by the operation.

Five others were jailed for between one and nine years

Lincolnshire Police said this was one of the biggest investigations they had carried out and it was done in partnership with officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit.

It involved more than 100 instances of covert surveillance including hidden cameras and phone bugs.

Cox had a fishing business called the Joy of Koi and police officers posed as anglers in order to watch Cox's property.

Officers said Cox and Payne took precautions against detection, using multiple phones and phone numbers.

A total of 15 people were arrested and charged between February and April 2011.

Six more men are due in court on Friday for sentencing and two others will be sentenced at a later date.

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