Ten drug dealers have been sentenced to more than 94 years for trafficking Class A drugs with a street value of up to £1.4million from Sheffield into Nottinghamshire.
Heading up the Sutton-in-Ashfield-based organised crime group (OCG) were brothers Mark and Paul Day. Pulling the strings on the other side was Liban Abdullah, despite the fact he was already in prison. He was key in orchestrating the drug runs from Sheffield.
Between June and November 2016, there were three key events that led to the collapse of the conspiracy. As part of their ‘business’ the couriers would use taxis to get between meet-ups and stashed their drugs along rural nature trails.
On 20 June 2016, 29-year-old Abdullah made arrangements for 51-year-old Paul Day to meet Sheffield courier Waqas Bashir in South Normanton. The exchange took place in a McDonalds car park, where Day handed over payment for 2kg of heroin and cutting agent.
Observing nearby was Josiah Wiggan, boss of the Sheffield arm of the operation outside of prison. The 30-year-old was joined by fellow organiser and driver Christopher Williams. Avoiding direct contact but giving orders over the phone was the other Day brother, Mark.
Despite the pre-planning and monitoring efforts of the two groups, things didn’t go to plan for them. A chase ensued as police moved in and car footage caught Paul Day throwing his recently purchased product out of the window as he raced through country roads.
Due to the sheer value of the heroin and loss it would cause, his brother – Mark – was then forced to get his hands dirty. He joined in the pursuit, pulling up next to his brother for him to throw a package between vehicles.
Witnesses then saw Mark circle back to collect other packages that his brother had dumped along the way. Paul Day was arrested after giving up the chase shortly after.
Undeterred, the groups continued the operation and over the next two months two more exchanges took place. Due to the previous police presence, the locations were switched-up but always took place in Nottinghamshire.
Now on bail, Paul Day chose to sit back and observe, instructing his courier – Matthew Bentley – to make the exchanges. After a short meet with Sheffield-based taxi driver Mohammed Nazir, they exchanged white plastic carrier bags.
The final exchange took place on 17 November, before they all parted ways on what would be their last meet before arrests were made and houses were raided.
The drugs thrown between vehicles on 20 June had an estimated street value of 25,000-£33,000 and a further £27,000 in cash was seized Bashir’s car.
Drugs found at a nature trail in Nottinghamshire forensically linked Paul Day to the stash. Police also found cutting agents paracetamol and caffeine in his storage container.
Abdullah and McCann were found guilty following a trial. The others pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and were sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court today (Friday 19 July 2019).
* Phone evidence proved Mark Day was involved in significant communications with the Sheffield OCG boss. The 46-year-old, from Hollyberry Croft in Sutton-in-Ashfield, was jailed for 10 years and nine months.
* ‘Hands on’ OCG frontman Paul Day, of Lindley Avenue in Sutton-in-Ashfield, was jailed for 11 years and four months.
* Heroin, cocaine, scales, money and dealer bags were seized from street dealer Bernard McCann’s home in Beechwood Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield. The 51-year-old was jailed for nine years.
* Arriving in the UK from Greece in July 2016, Simon Garbutt was an associate of the brothers. The 61-year-old, of Great North Road, Newark, helped stash the drugs and also had a storage unit full of cutting agent. He was sentenced to six years and eight months.
* Courier Matthew Bentley, 45, of Dalestorth Street in Sutton-in-Ashfield, was given seven years and six months for his involvement.
* Sheffield OCG boss 30-year-old Josiah Wiggan, of Buckenham Street in Sheffield, was jailed for 11 years and 10 months.
* After failing to appear at court, Liban Abdullah, formerly of Holme Lane, Sheffield, was sentenced in his absence to 14 years in prison. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
* Sheffield based courier Waqas Bashir, 26, of Grimesthorpe, was sentenced to seven years and two months.
* Wiggan’s right-hand man Christopher Williams, of Daresbury Place, Sheffield, was jailed for eight years and six months.
* Taxi driver Mohammed Hader Nazir, 27, of Scott Road, Sheffield, was handed an eight year sentence.
Detective Inspector Andy Jones led the investigation at the East Midlands Special Operations Unit. He said: “This investigation has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to reach this successful conclusion.
“Most of the people involved are career criminals who tried very hard to avoid detection and cover their tracks.” Their sentences reflect the key roles they played in bringing large quantities of Class A drugs into the East Midlands.”