Hartlepool drugs gang leaders get 23 years for their part in £30m conspiracy

David Garside, left, and Adrian Morfitt.
David Garside, left, and Adrian Morfitt.

Two Hartlepool criminals have today been jailed for more than 23 years after flooding the streets with millions of pounds of drugs.

Adrian Morfitt and David Garside, both 30, worked with Liverpool dealers to transport tens of kilos of cocaine and amphetamine across the Pennines to Hartlepool, where they were distributed across the North East.

The operation was sophisticated, efficient and potentially highly profitable.

Judge Peter Armstrong

The partnership dealt in drugs with an estimated street value of up to £30m.

Boss of the North East operation, Morfitt, of Caistor Drive, Hartlepool, was jailed for 12 years.

His partner in crime, Garside, of Hampstead Gardens, Hartlepool, was locked up for 11 years and eight months.

They both previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs between February 2012 and June last year.

Teesside Crown Court heard that together they held meetings with top Liverpool-based criminals to source wholesale quantities of drugs, recruited friends into the organisation and were involved in the making of amphetamine on a huge scale.

In a major investigation by organised crime police, officers seized 4.25 kilos of cocaine, 122 kilos of amphetamine, 100 litres of amphetamine oil and 35 kilos of cannabis.

But the judge accepted that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Judge Peter Armstrong said they were “but a snapshot of a sustained and persistent pattern of dealing, principally cocaine and amphetamine but also cannabis on a large scale.

“The operation was sophisticated, efficient and potentially highly profitable.”

The leaders of the larger North West crime empire, Ian Stanton, 44, and Keith Watson, 38, were jailed for 16 years and 15 years and four months respectively.

Judge Armstrong added: “The trafficking of illegal drugs is well known to lead to further crime committed by users otherwise unable to fund their habit and can have a devastating effect on them and their families and indeed on the defendants’ families, as is apparent from the many letters I have received from their families.”