Burnley drug men fail to get cut in jail sentences

10:00pm Thursday 28th March 2013

TWO men jailed for a plot to supply enough chemicals to produce £3.5 billion worth of illegal drugs have failed to convince top judges their sentences should be cut.

Jamie Stephen Dale, 33, and chemical expert, Barry Hartley, 64, were part of an ‘enormous’ ring that imported 37 tonnes of chemicals used to dilute heroin, cocaine and amphetamines, distributing much of it throughout the UK over a three-year period.

Hartley, of Cog Lane, Burnley, was jailed for 11 years years and Dale, of Claymere Avenue, Rochdale, 18 years, after they were convicted of three counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs at Leeds Crown Court in 2011.

Judges at London's Court of Appeal rejected challenges by both men against their sentences.

Lord Justice Treacy said a criminal organisation headed by Dale was supplying massive amounts of benzocaine, lidocaine and procaine — used to dilute class A and class B drugs to increase their street value — across the country between 2005 to 2008.

“The scale of the operation was enormous”, the appeal judge said, adding that Dale had imported five tonnes of benzocaine over just two months — estimated to be half of the UK's annual demand for the chemical.

The amount of cutting agent brought into the country by Dale's gang could have helped produce drugs with an estimated street value of £3.5 billion, the judge added.

Hartley's barrister said the judge over-rated the seriousness of his role in the gang and failed to give him enough credit for his age.

But Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Mr Justice Macduff and Judge John Milford QC, said: “We do not consider the sentencing judge took an excessive starting point, nor do we think he applied a discount which was exceptionable. In those circumstances we consider there is no merit in the appeals and they are dismissed.”


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