Following a protracted covert investigation by officer’s from NERSOU a gang of drugs dealers who brought cocaine worth millions of pounds to Wearside have been jailed for a total of more than 54 years.
Brothers Asa and Aidan Dobbing, who ran the operation from their Aspect Garage business in Sunderland, were each locked up for 14 years. Also jailed were drugs couriers Ian Potts, Kevin Dudley, and Simon Loomes, who was the gangs’ main supplier from the south of England. Police officer PC Gary Christie, who accessed police intelligence at the behest of Asa Dobbing has also been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.
Jamie Malloy, who was one of the first of the gang to be arrested, is due to be sentenced at a later date, as is Leanne Mariner and April Hunter who were also involved. "The conspiracy was a well-organised enterprise driven by dedicated criminals," prosecutor Nick Dry told Teesside Crown Court. "They were motivated by the rewards to be had from trafficking large quantities of drugs. Those drugs were transported from the south of England up to the Sunderland area on a regular basis, with payment in hard cash heading the other way. Those involved sought to hide their involvement using what they believed to be untraceable pay-as-you-go mobile phones. But as the police began to investigate, they began to build a picture of those involved, unravelling the many thousands of communications to reveal the identities."
Mr Dry told the court of a gang hierarchy with the Dobbings at the top operating a team of organisers, couriers and street dealers. "Asa Dobbing was the sole signatory of the garage business account," said Mr Dry. "It was he who withdrew over £150,000 in cash at times coinciding with courier trips south to collect drugs Asa Dobbing was filmed meeting Christie in Barnes Park in Sunderland, it was a clandestine encounter shortly after the arrests of Jamie Malloy and Aidan Dobbing. Iain Potts was part of the same social crowd as Christie and the Dobbings and he, like Asa Dobbing and Gary Christie, owned and rented properties. Potts would be contacted by Malloy on the day of drug trips south. Police observed cash hand overs from Malloy to Potts at the rear fence of Rolls Royce in Pallion, where Potts worked.”
Malloy was arrested on his way back to Sunderland with a kilo of cocaine in his car, having previously met Loomes at a shopping centre in Derbyshire. Police found dealer lists in Malloy's car, which ultimately led to the arrest of other gang members.
A trial in 2015 was aborted for legal reasons. Reporting of the second trial, which took place earlier this year, was postponed by Judge Howard Crowson pending the outcome of the separate trial of Asa Dobbing and Christie, who were convicted earlier this week. The following all denied conspiracy to supply class A drugs between August, 2012 and April, 2014. Each was convicted after a trial, and were sentenced by Judge Crowson last month.
Asa Dobbing, 37, of Ryhope Grange Court, Ryhope, was jailed for 15 years.
Aidan Dobbing, 32, of Ravelstone Close, Doxford Park, Sunderland, was jailed for 14 years.
Simon Loomes, 42, of Duke's Valley, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, was jailed for eleven years.
Iain Potts, 29, of Cavendish Place, Silksworth, Sunderland, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years
Kevin Dudley, 21, of Hadrian Park, Jarrow was jailed for six years, nine months.
PC Christie, was jailed for two years.
Christie, 42, of Silksworth Lane, Sunderland, denied misconduct in public office, and conspiracy to supply class A drugs between August 2012, and April, 2014. He was convicted by the jury of misconduct, and acquitted of the conspiracy. Asa Dobbing was convicted of aiding and abetting a person to commit misconduct in public office.
Jamie Malloy, 27, of Swan Street, Monkwearmouth, and Leanne Mariner, 33, of Avonmouth Road, Farringdon, both Sunderland, and April Hunter from North Tyneside are awaiting sentence after admitting conspiracy to supply class A drugs. A hearing on a date to be fixed will be held to determine if any of the defendants has assets which can be seized as the proceeds of crime.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Colling from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) said: "This organised crime group had a complex network set up within the North East region, they clearly thought that this enabled them to carry out their criminal activities unnoticed. They were wrong. The Dobbing brothers and other criminal associates enjoyed a lavish lifestyle and thought that they would continue to live the high life. They were wrong. The distribution of the drugs centred in the Sunderland area and the value of the trade runs into millions of pounds. The drugs recovered during this operation were an extremely high purity. The Dobbing brothers and or their criminal associates continued to carry out their criminal activities and this in my opinion is an extraordinary display of arrogance. This operation has successfully dismantled this criminal enterprise within the North East. It’s rare to take out every layer of a gang, especially one as complex as this, but that’s exactly what we’ve done. The sentencing from this investigation reflects the roles and involvement that this gang played in serious and organised crime. This should be a message to those thinking of becoming involved in crime or continuing their criminal activities to stop. Think of the impact of committing crime and getting caught, the shame and embarrassment this brings to you, your family, your friends and your communities. Losing the best years of your life behind bars, instead of spending those years with those that mean the most to you."