Two Gainsborough residents jailed for conspiring to supply Class A drugs

Two Gainsborough residents alongside five others have been jailed for a total of more than 47 years for conspiring to supply Class A drugs.

The conspiracy centred around a property on Bailgate in Lincoln, which was being used to prepare significant quantities of Class A drugs for onward sale in the Lincoln area.

Sharon Hopkinson and  Norman Foreshaw

Sharon Hopkinson and Norman Foreshaw

During a raid at the address, in addition to large quantities of heroin and cocaine, Lincolnshire Police officers discovered cutting agents, a hydraulic press and heat sealing equipment which was used to bulk out the drugs and repress them in order to maximise profit.

The following seven people were sentenced on November 23 at Leicester Crown Court:

- Norman Foreshaw (39) of White Hart Hotel, Gainsborough was jailed for 16 years;

- Roger Bayes (48) of Keddington Avenue, Lincoln was jailed for 12 years;

- Sharon Hopkinson (45) of White Hart Hotel, Gainsborough was jailed for three years and six months;

- Charlie Murray (28) of Washington Street, Hull was jailed for four years and seven months;

- Elon Williams (24) of Washington Street, Hull, was jailed for four years and seven months;

- Robert Sharpe (50) of Greetwell Gate, Lincoln, was jailed for three years and 10 months;

- Dwan Fowler (31), of Jarvis Close, Lincoln, was jailed for two years and seven months.

- James Hewitson, 36, of Newark Road, Lincoln, who was found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court on September 11, will be sentenced at a later date.

Judge Martin Hurst said: “Norman Foreshaw and Roger Bayes had equal roles in the conspiracy which had its epicentre at the Bailgate address. Both had leading roles in the distribution of Class A drugs. They directed and had influence over the other members of the conspiracy, with an expectation of financial gain.

“Sharon Hopkinson played a lesser role in that she did not see or touch the drugs. And whilst she had no influence over others, she was responsible for the conspiracy continuing by providing premises.

“Robert Sharpe had a lesser role, however he was actively dealing in larger quantities as directed to do so by Norman Foreshaw.

“Elon Williams and Charlie Murray were equal partners in the street dealing part of this conspiracy.

“Dwan Fowler was an active street dealer, however on a much smaller scale.”

Foreshaw, Bayes and Hopkinson were found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court on September 11. Foreshaw was also found guilty of a second conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine between July 31, 2016 and September 2, 2016. Fowler pleaded guilty before trial to supply cocaine within the same time period.

Murray and Williams pleaded guilty during the trial. Sharpe pleaded guilty before the trial.

The evidence in the case encompassed a number of stop and searches and raids by police.

In November 2015, Bayes was stopped in a vehicle and was found in possession of £3,700 in heat-sealed packages, a further £700 and a mobile phone. A subsequent search of his home address revealed a further £5,000 secreted within his chimney breast.

On December 2, 2015 police raided a property in Portland Street, Lincoln, which was rented by Hopkinson. Through Foreshaw, it had been sub-let to Foreshaw’s nephew Elon Williams and his girlfriend Charlie Murray. During this search several mobile phones, digital scales and £1,405 were seized. The scales were found to have traces of heroin and cocaine, along with cutting agents, upon them. Murray’s phone was found to contain text messages offering to supply Class A drugs.

On January 23, 2016, Murray and Williams were stopped on the High Street in Lincoln. Murray was found to have both heroin and cocaine on her in dealer quantities. Williams was forensically linked to those drugs.

Elon Williams had a key to a property in Stanley Street, Gainsborough, which was owned by Sharon Hopkinson and rented to the pair by her. A total of £2,890 was recovered from this address.

Then, on February 2, 2016, a warrant was executed at the address on Bailgate. The address was split into a business premise on the ground floor and letting rooms on the first floor. Hopkinson was the lease holder for the whole building. Both Foreshaw and Sharpe were at the property at the time of the raid, with James Hewitson arriving during the search. On arrival, Hewitson was found in possession of the key to Room 4 and the PIN code for the entranceway.

In the room rented by Sharpe, police discovered 118g of heroin, 20g of cocaine and digital scales with traces of Class A drugs and cutting agents.

In Room 4 - later discovered to have been rented by Bayes since May 2015 - police found 100g of heroin, 4.7kg of cutting agents, the hydraulic press and heat seal equipment. The scales and press were found to have traces of Class A drugs on.

On the same night, police raided the White Hart Hotel in Gainsborough. A total of £2,000 was found in a handbag belonging to Hopkinson, which had earlier been paid to her by Hewitson on behalf of Bayes in order for the return of the key to Room 4. A component part of the hydraulic press, with traces of Class A drugs on, was located in Hopkinson’s car. A further £1,240 and three stolen Tag Heuer watches were seized from the bedroom of Hopkinson and Foreshaw.

On February 5, 2016 a further search was conducted at the White Hart Hotel, where officers seized a further £1,890 from their bedroom.

On June 30, 2016, following further arrests of Murray and Williams in relation to this conspiracy, a search was completed at their new address at Portland Terrace, Gainsborough. Three further sets of scales with traces of Class A drugs and another hydraulic press were seized.

Bayes had bought the press that was located at the Bailgate address and Foreshaw had purchased the press found in Gainsborough.

Analysis conducted of the phones and items seized revealed that all defendants were involved in some way with Room 4 at the Bailgate address.

From analytical work, it was discovered that Foreshaw continued with his drug supply operation in the late summer of 2016, supplying both heroin and cocaine, sometimes with assistance of Dwan Fowler who helped expand his customer base.

Inspector Jo Fortune said: “All those guilty of this conspiracy were responsible for the distribution of Class A drugs in Lincoln, as part of a sophisticated, illicit commercial operation.

“Roger Bayes and Norman Foreshaw were the tenants of Room 4 at the Bailgate property and were clearly the spearheads of the operation.

“Robert Sharpe, Charlie Murray and Elon Williams were the street dealers, while Sharon Hopkinson provided the properties to enable the drugs business to take place.

“This was a robust investigation over several years, and a significant amount of evidence was obtained.

“Drugs can ruin the lives of both the users and their families, it impacts on the wider community as acquisitive crime increases as users try to fund their habits.

“These higher-market dealers exploit these opportunities to make large amounts of money for their own gain. Lincolnshire Police will continue to target those we identify as involved in organised crime and seek to bring them to justice.”