Drugs gang sentenced to over 15 years’ imprisonment

June 09

A drugs gang from Reading has been sentenced to over 15 years’ imprisonment following an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).

The four men, all from Reading, pleaded guilty at a hearing on 5 May at Reading Crown Court and yesterday (8/6) were sentenced to the following:

Paul John Chance, aged 49, of Colemansmoor Road, Reading, was sentenced to a total of eight years imprisonment to run concurrently after pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to supply heroin (eight years), one count of possession with intent to supply cannabis (two years), one count of possession with intent to supply cannabis (12 months) and cutting agent and one count of one count of possession of MDMA (one month).

 Richard Rhys Gomm, aged 48, formerly of Harvard Close, Reading, was sentenced to a total of five years four months imprisonment to run concurrently after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply heroin (five years and four months), one count of conspiracy to supply cocaine (five years and four months), one count of conspiracy to supply cannabis (14 months), one count of possession of MDMA (one month), one count of possession of amphetamine (14 days) and one count of one count of possession of cannabis (14 days).

 Ahmer Siddiqui, aged 38, formerly of Cotswold Way, Reading, was sentenced to a total of two years imprisonment to run concurrently after pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to supply cannabis (four months) and one count of assisting an offender to supply class A drugs (two years).

Marcus Barnard, aged 21, of Lexington Grove, Reading, was sentenced to 240 hours community service unpaid work after pleading guilty to one count of being concerned in supply of class B drugs (cannabis).

Investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Clair Chegwidden, from the SEROCU, said: “This investigation was focused on and around drug supply within Reading and surrounding areas of the South East Region.

“It was clear that this was a sophisticated organised criminal gang causing misery and serious harm to our communities throughout Reading and the surrounding areas through the supply of drugs.

“We confiscated an estimated total of more than £400,000 worth of drugs which were intended for the street. The gang operated out of Reading and stretched as far as Brighton, West Sussex.

“We are pleased with the sentences today, which show criminal gangs that we will protect our communities across the South East Region by targeting offenders and ensuring they are stopped from operating.

Detective Chief Inspector David Storey, Head of Investigations at SEROCU, said: “Our goal is use all our capabilities as a regional unit to disrupt serious organised crime groups from operating across the South East.

“The safeguarding of our communities throughout the region is our number one priority and we will continue to strive to stop organised crime groups from operating in our region.”

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: ““This was a successful operation which illustrates our determination to take drugs off the streets and protect our communities. These sentences should be a warning to those who are still dealing drugs in Reading or anywhere else in the Thames Valley.”

   As part of the investigation, officers from SEROCU executed a search warrant on 29 April 2014 on a property in Finch Road, Reading where we found a package that contained cannabis with a street value of £5,500 and around two kilos of substances Sodium Acetate Trihydrate & Lithium Citrate used as a cutting agent for mixing class A drugs.

On 23 July 2014, officers stopped Paul Chance driving his van within Reading, a search of the van revealed 123 grams of heroin and scales. During a subsequent search of an address associated with Chance in Winton Road, officers found a further two packages of heroin and nearly two kilos of cannabis in the bath. The total street value of the drugs seized from Paul Chance is estimated to be in the region of £352,000.

On the same day a warrant was executed at the home and work addresses of Richard Gomm and a box discovered which contained a variety of class A drugs, cutting agents, heat sealed bags and scales used in the preparation of drug supply.

At Gomm’s work address in Wokingham officers found a hydraulic steel press which had been used to prepare the drugs. In total police seized 198.83 grams of cocaine, 181.90 grams of heroin, 1.5 kilos of cannabis and small amount of MDMA and amphetamine. The total street value of the drugs found at Gomm’s is believed to be £44,140.