Lincolnshire

Skegness gang members jailed for selling drugs to undercover police

Top row left to right - Jonathon Thompson, Derek Hicks, Lauren Cooper - bottom row Keith Count, Alexander Tapsfield, Aaron Verheul Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption The six defendants are (top row left to right) Jonathon Thompson, Derek Hicks, Lauren Cooper and (bottom row left to right) Keith Count, Alexander Tapsfield, Aaron Verheul

Six gang members have been jailed after they were caught selling heroin to undercover police officers.

Police carried out test purchases over several months in 2017 to target suspected dealers in Skegness.

Lincoln Crown Court heard officers mounted the operation in response to the resort "being plagued" by heroin street dealers.

They were jailed on Thursday and given sentences ranging from 16 months to four years, eight months.

Andrew Peat, prosecuting, told the court the gang, many of whom had drug habits, were involved in an arrangement to supply heroin supplied by dealers in Leicester.

He said the heroin was brought in and passed to local dealers, including defendants Derek Hicks, Keith Count, Aaron Verheul, Lauren Cooper and Jonathon Thompson.

All were involved in test purchases carried out by officers while the sixth defendant, Alexander Tapsfield, was employed as a driver.

Cooper was also convicted of assaulting another gang member by repeatedly striking him over the head in the street with a claw hammer in March 2018 after accusing him of being a "grass."

Police found her hiding naked in a cupboard after removing her bloodied clothes.

The defendants were sentenced to:

  • Derek Hicks, 44, of Church Road South, Skegness, was jailed for four years and eight months
  • Keith Count, 37, of Phillip Grove, Skegness, was jailed for four years and six months
  • Aaron Verheul, 37, of Morris Gardens, Skegness, was jailed for four years
  • Alexander Tapsfield, 30, of West End, Spilsby, was sentenced to two and half years imprisonment
  • Jonathon Thompson, 49, of Ida Road, Skegness, was jailed for 16 months
  • Lauren Cooper, 32, of Richmond Drive, Skegness, was sentenced to three years and 10 months imprisonment

Three other defendants are due to be sentenced at a later date.

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