Six years for £1.3m cocaine plotter

Toby Ryder
Toby Ryder

A DRUG dealer who was part of a £1.3m plot to flood the north of England with cocaine is today starting a six-year jail sentence.

Hartlepool man Toby Ryder was finally brought to justice almost three years after police smashed the ring based in Liverpool and West Yorkshire.

Painstaking mobile phone analysis by police linked the 33-year-old to the plot and meetings with its ringleader, Kevin Booth.

Bradford Crown Court heard Ryder was part of the gang that planned to distribute Class A drugs across the region.

He travelled from his Hartlepool home to Booth’s girlfriend’s house in West Yorkshire where he stayed for just 20 minutes.

A short while later, cops watched as Ryder met a car carrying two men from Liverpool before he drove back to Hartlepool.

Ryder was not stopped at the time, but police pounced and found two kilos of cocaine in the car from Liverpool.

The court was also told that Ryder had met with Booth on more than one occasion when he had travelled to West Yorkshire from Hartlepool.

Analysis of Ryder’s mobile phone was able to tie him to times and places with other key conspirators in the plot.

Police put Booth, 51, of Bingley, West Yorkshire, under surveillance in spring 2009.

He was caught with a holdall containing five kilos of cocaine valued at £300,000 in the July after a meeting with courier Paul Kirman, 44, of Huyton, Liverpool.

Police also seized £1m worth of drugs at a safe house in Brighouse, West Yorkshire.

Booth is currently serving 16 years in prison after he admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs in 2010.

Ryder, of Lealholm Road, Hartlepool, was jailed for five years and 11 months months yesterday.

He earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine on the first day he was due to stand trial.

His sentence also included six months for obtaining a money transfer by deception over his mortgage.

In mitigation, the court heard that Ryder was a hard-working man and provided character references to the judge.

The court was told the dad of two fell in with the wrong crowd after he separated from his partner in 2008.