Men go on trial accused of involvement in organised drugs gang controlled from Doncaster travellers' site

Two men have gone on trial at Sheffield Crown Court today, accused of being involved in an organised drug gang, controlled from a Doncaster travellers' site

Two men have gone on trial accused of being involved in an organised drug gang, controlled from a Doncaster travellers' site, that has supplied heroin to users across Yorkshire.

Jonathan Stray, 39, of no fixed abode and Raymond Sears, 42, of King George's Court, Stainforth are charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, which they deny.

It is alleged that for a period of 14-months Stray and Sears were members of an organised drugs gang, run from a number of addresses across Doncaster, that supplied heroin throughout South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire.

Nine members of the gang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs at an earlier hearing.

Opening the case at Sheffield Crown Court today, prosecutor, Tom Storey, told jurors it is the Crown's case that Stray was involved with the gang at a higher level through his role as an 'overseer'; while Sears provided 'low-level assistance to others higher up the chain, or distributing drugs to street-level users'.

He added: "This supply of drugs was carried out from various addresses in the Doncaster area, and was ultimately being controlled or directed by individuals who lived on a travellers' caravan site on Stocksbridge Lane, Bentley, Doncaster. Ultimately, the drugs which this case concerns were all destined for street users - no doubt drug addicts - in these areas."

Mr Storey told the court that before selling the heroin on, members of the gang mixed it with caffeine and paracetamol powders, before compressing the resulting mixture into blocks using hydraulic presses.

He said: "This might be so as to make transporting the heroin easier because it reduces the size of a particular quantity of powder, but it also disguises from those to whom you are selling the drug, the fact the heroin has been diluted."

Sears was arrested concerning his alleged involvement in the gang on August 10, 2016, when he was found to have hidden a bag containing 28g of heroin in his sock.

Mr Storey said: "Raymond Sears told the police that he had bought the heroin for himself and had no intention of supplying it to anyone else. He said he had bought this quantity so it would last him over the next few days; his habit was going through the roof."

Police arrested Stray after they raided his then address at Lakeen Road, Intake on November 17, 2016.

The court was told how during the raid Stray told officers they would find two to three ounces of cannabis in the pantry, before telling them 'I don't have anything to do with Class A drugs - I sell a bit of weed, that's all.

Officers found some 79g of cannabis in his pantry. They also recovered £640 cash from him, as well as £2,000 in cash in his bedside drawer and a further £14,000 of cash hidden in a set of wooden steps in a child's bedroom in the property.

Mr Storey told the court that the quantities of cash were forensically examined using a process which can detect traces of controlled drugs on banknotes, and the £2,000 found in his bedroom drawer and £14,000 found in the child's bedroom were both found to contain 'a greater level of cocaine, heroin and mixing agents than found in cash in every-day circulation.

He added: "The prosecution say that the contamination of the cash found at his home address is an indication that these quantities of cash derived ultimately from the supply of Class A drugs."

Stray pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cannabis with intent to supply it to another and possessing criminality, concerning the items found at his home, at an earlier hearing.

The defendants are alleged to have been involved in the gang between June 2015 and August 2016.

During that time police raided a number of other properties across Doncaster, related to the gang's activities.

On February 16, 2016, they raided a property in Wolsley Avenue, Intake where they found two 1kg blocks of compressed heroin, over 4.5kg of powdered caffeine and paracetamol.

Then on March 17, 2016 they raided a travellers' site in Kirkhouse Green Road, Kirkhouse Green, Doncaster

Both defendants deny one count of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The trial continues.

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